Braised Cold Fennel Hearts Victor

Braised Cold Fennel Hearts Victor

The marinade here — a classic Sauce Victor, though ours is particularly bracing — is so all-purpose, we make it by the half gallon at Prune, in New York. But even at home, where you don’t often go through two quarts of dressing a day, I’m pretty certain a solid two cups will not go to waste. If I were you, I’d start with sturdy lettuces, braised celery hearts, all the escaroles and chicories and hardy greens, then see what you think of it on all the crucifers, well boiled, drained and chilled. I often save the pooled dressing after the fennel is removed — another real cook’s treat — and drown my toast, lentils, bulgur or fregole pasta in it. You might like to, also.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 8 persons



  1. Step 1

    Remove big, fibrous outer stalks of each head of fennel until you reveal the next tier of white fennel. Trim the tops, then wash thoroughly.
  2. Step 2

    Place fennel heads in pan and cover with chicken broth. Scatter with peppercorns and bay leaves. Season with salt gently. (The fennel itself has some salinity.)
  3. Step 3

    Cover with parchment and foil, and bring to a simmer on the stove top. Lower heat to barest flame possible, and let braise for 15 or 20 minutes until soft and tender when you pierce deep into the base with a blade or skewer.
  4. Step 4

    Remove seal, and lift cooked fennel out onto a drying rack set over a sheet pan to fully drain and cool.
  5. Step 5

    When they are cool enough to handle, pull off any of the tough remaining outer layers to reveal the tender hearts.
  6. Step 6

    Stir together the anchovies, garlic, chile flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Make the marinade bright, assertive and bracing. Marinate the fennel hearts for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  7. Step 7

    Finish with freshly chopped parsley.