Fennel Frond Pesto [recipe]

Fennel Frond Pesto 1

I received my box of organic produce this morning from Farm Fresh To You, amongst all the beautiful produce was a bulb of fennel with plenty of stalks and fronds sticking out of it. Fennel is not something I cook with regularly, and when I do use it, I only buy the bulb. Not knowing what to do with the fronds and didn’t want to be wasteful by throwing them away, I turned to Google for help. The few popular suggestions were: add to soup, or use as garnish or as the bed for roasting; the most popular pairing seem to be with fish. I then came across Melissa Clark’s recipe for fennel frond pesto, and I knew instantly this was how I was going to use up all those fronds. This pesto will go great with pasta, toasts, and any protein. The fronds have a much milder taste than the bulb, very slight hint of that licorice/anise quality. The finished product is fresh and herbal, and yes, garlicky. It’s so addicting, I’ve been spreading it over slices of rustic cranberry walnut bread, I’m afraid I won’t have enough to toss some pasta with it.


Fennel Frond Pesto


Recipe from Melissa Clark

Time: 5 minutes

1 small fennel bulb with lots of bushy fronds
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons pine nuts or sliced or slivered almonds (I used toasted almond)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Chop off fennel fronds and coarsely chop enough to measure 1 cup (discard the rest of the fronds, save the fennel for later use, and of course eat the fennel bulb itself, it’s great to dip into the pesto). Put the chopped fronds in a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, nuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of pepper to the food processor and process until finely chopped. Add 4 tablespoons of the oil and cheese continue to process until the mixture looks like pesto. Season with more salt to taste.

Makes 3/4 cup

Fennel Frond Pesto 2

PS: Finally upgraded to the iPhone 5 (what a difference comparing to my old android phone), so happy with how fast the camera app is and all the cool filters I can do with all the pictures. So please excuse me while I give my Canon DSLR a [short] break and continue to experiment with the new toy. (I even left the Canon at home last weekend while we went on a short trip to Napa, the husband was probably ecstatic that he didn’t have to carry that thing around.)


2 thoughts on “Fennel Frond Pesto [recipe]

  1. I too have wondered what to do with the rest of the fennel when a recipe only calls for the bulb. Thanks so much for posting! And love the colors in your photos – purple and green are such a lovely combination! Where is the bread from? We should go to the Farmers’ Market again!

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