crunchy beans with fennel


fennel is a favourite of mine. i love the vegetable, either raw or cooked, but i also love the dried seeds as a flavouring. i’m always happy to let this spice be the star of the show.

this recipe for crunchy beans with fennel dressing was pulled out of a magazine many moons ago and has become a real favourite. it’s delicious served hot as a light and slightly unusual side dish, particularly with fish or chicken. i also like to eat it cold, as a salad.

crunchy beans in fennel dressing * (serves 6 as a side)

1 tablespoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed

3-5 tablespoons olive oil

zest and juice of a lemon

200g broad beans (i use frozen)

400g green beans, trimmed

salt & pepper

dry-fry the fennel seeds in a clean pan, over a low heat, until you are able to smell them. place the toasted seeds in a bowl with the olive oil, lemon zest and juice.

cook the beans until just ready – about 4 minutes for each. cook the broad beans first, rinse under cold water and pop the outer skins off so you are left with the beautiful bright green beans.

when both beans are ready, return them to the pan with the dressing, a little seasoning and warm through.

* adapted from a waitrose recipe