Quick and easy summer dish to make the most of fennel

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Chef Lawrence whips up a salad using a barbecue leftover.

After cleaning the flagstones, painting the walls and potting up the herbs, our courtyard garden has been ready for use for about two weeks.

Thankfully, blue skies and a golden sun have been around for a fair few days which has encouraged our customers to dine al fresco at lunchtime.

Our eating habits change with the seasons, not just because of what’s available, but also when the sun is out it’s more conducive to eat lighter dishes, salads - and, of course, to get the rusty old barbecue fired up.

I have spent many late summer evenings barbecueing with friends where we like to cook a whole leg of lamb spiked with garlic and rosemary.

As the lamb slowly smokes away, nibbles and wine can be consumed while we wait for the last guests to arrive. Once the meat is cooked and resting, I put the vegetables on the heat for about 10 to 15 minutes and the whole thing is ready to serve.

After one such evening I was left with some charred fennel, which I kept and turned into a salad with the addition of some crumbly goats’ cheese for my lunch the following day. I have since used this flavour combination as a starter for the summer months and now use a griddle pan instead of the barbecue.

You can griddle the fennel and make the fennel dust for this recipe in advance, then put the salad together when you require it.

To find out more about Lawrence’s restaurant Fat Olives, visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.


(serves four)

2 bulbs of fennel

Olive oil

150g rosary goats’ cheese or soft crumbly goats’ cheese

1 bunch of Hampshire watercress

1 teaspoon of fennel seed

Sea salt


1. Heat a small pan and toast off the fennel seed for about two minutes. Allow to cool.

2. Grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt to make fennel dust.

3. Slice the fennel about the thickness of a pound coin.

4. Rub fennel with olive oil and cook on a hot griddle pan (three minutes each side). Allow to cool.

5. Pick through the watercress and wash.

6. Assemble the fennel, watercress and cheese on four plates.

7. Sprinkle with the fennel dust and extra virgin olive oil, then serve.