6 fennel bulbs
50g butter
4 anchovy fillets
¼ cup dry vermouth, Pernod or dry white wine
125ml water

Raw fennel bulbs are crisp, cool and crunchy with a strong anise flavour which makes them perfect for salad. Mostly I prefer them cooked, when the fibres and flavours soften, becoming silky when you add some fat such as oil or butter.

Frying and then steaming is a technique that I use a lot for concentrating the flavours of vegetables and creating a ready-made drizzle of sauce. Fennel is an elegant natural partner for fish, but you could combine it or replace it with other vegetables such as kohlrabi, carrots and parsnips. This could be made ahead and gently reheated, adding a little extra water and butter to moisten.

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1.Remove any stringy outer leaves from the fennel, trim the base and top, reserving any fronds. Cut in half lengthwise.
2.Using a wide Dutch oven or similar that will hold the fennel in a single layer, add the butter and anchovies and heat to melt.
3.Put in the fennel pieces and fry on each side for a few minutes to take on a light colour.
4.Add the vermouth and reduce by half.
5.Season the fennel, add the water, cover and cook on the lowest heat for 20 minutes or until the fennel is very tender.
6.Put the fennel pieces on a platter, reduce the liquid if necessary and pour over the fennel.
7.Finely chop and scatter over the fennel fronds.
8.VEGETARIAN: Replace the anchovies with a handful of olives. Make sure the vermouth is vegetarian.
9.VEGAN: Use olive oil in place of the butter and replace the anchovies with a handful of olives. Make sure the vermouth is vegan.

Recipes & food styling Ginny Grant / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Jessica Hemmings