Food & Drink

Niall McKenna’s fennel & citrus salad and fennel & butterbean soup

Niall McKenna is having fun with fennel this weekend with recipes that show off the vegetable’s versatility and tastiness

Niall McKenna's Fennel and Citrus Salad
Niall McKenna's Fennel and Citrus Salad

We all know how unpredictable our summertime can be - we often have four seasons in one day. For this reason, I still haven’t managed to get around to putting my soup pan away.

However, in the hope of warmer weather, this week’s soup and salad are both light and fresh. Not only is fennel in season and a versatile ingredient, but it’s super tasty. That’s why I have decided to incorporate fennel into both recipes this week – fennel and citrus salad and fennel and butterbean soup. Try both and let me know what you think.

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Fennel & Citrus Salad


(Serves 6)

  • 2 heads endive, halved lengthwise, cut lengthwise into thin strips
  • 1 head butter lettuce, leaves torn
  • 250g fresh fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 3 small pink grapefruits, segmented
  • 1 1/2tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1/2tsp honey
  • 60ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • Parmesan shavings, for garnish

  • For the dressing, whisk the olive oil, vinegar and honey in a large bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Next, add the endive, butter lettuce and fennel to a bowl and toss in the vinegarette to coat.
  • To serve, place the salad leaves onto a plate and top with grapefruit sections. Garnish with parmesan cheese shavings.

Fennel & Butterbean Soup

Niall McKenna's Fennel and Butterbean Soup
Niall McKenna's Fennel and Butterbean Soup

(Serves 4)

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 tin butter beans, drained
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 50ml sherry
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 2tbsp olive oil, plus extra for garnish
  • 1tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 pinches chilli flakes
  • 1 pinch fennel seeds
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Start by preheating the oven to the highest setting. Remove the outer leaves from the fennel and keep to the side to chop and use as a garnish. Chop the remaining bulb of fennel in half and thinly slice one half.
  • Toss the halved fennel with the olive oil, sherry vinegar, a pinch of chilli flakes and fennel seeds and a good seasoning of salt and pepper.
  • Next, place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Once removed, the fennel should still have a bite but cooked around the edges.
  • Place a splash of oil into a pan and cook the thinly sliced fennel, onion, and a pinch of fennel seeds and chilli flakes for 10 minutes. Next, add the sherry and bring to the boil. Once reduced, add the butter beans and stock. Bring the liquid to the boil and once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  • When ready to serve, thinly slice the baked fennel and place in the bottom of a bowl, pouring over the hot liquid and serving with a garnish of chopped outer leaves, chilli flakes and a drizzle of olive oil.