White Fish with Fennel Frond Pesto


By Chef Amanda DeLaura

Do you ever buy and use a fennel bulb and wonder what to do with the leftover fennel fronds? Wonder no more! This pesto uses parsley, fennel fronds and roasted almonds. I learned to use almonds in my pesto instead of pine nuts when I visited Sicily this past summer. Almonds are used in the south of Italy for dishes such as pesto and almond granita while pine nuts are used in the North for pesto and sweets such as Italian Pignoli cookies. This recipe is delicious, you can use it with your leftover fronds or buy a whole bulb and use the bulb for a salad and the fronds for the pesto. Easily complete this meal with homemade bread or a side of roasted potatoes. Bon appétit!

Makes 2 servings

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Fennel fronds from 1 bulb of fennel, stems removed & rinsed

8 sprigs of parsley, stems removed & rinsed

1 clove garlic 1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup roasted almonds 1/4 tsp salt, or more to taste


1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced with mandolin

Olive oil, to taste Lemon, to taste


2 fillets of white fish* olive oil, to taste

salt, to taste pepper, to taste 1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil


  1. To make the pesto, add the fennel fronds, parsley, garlic, olive oil, almonds, and salt in a food processor and blend till very well combined and processed. You will have to scrape the sides a couple of times before This will result in a rather stiff pesto. If you want it looser, add one to two more tablespoons of olive oil and process till smooth and combined.
  1. To prepare salad, place your sliced fennel in a medium bowl. Generously add olive oil and lemon juice and (I add about two tablespoons of olive oil and half of a lemon, but you should eye it off your preferred presence of acid.) Set aside.
  2. To prepare fish, lightly brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sea Generously season both sides with freshly cracked pepper.
  3. Heat your olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once hot and simmering, add your fish, flesh side Sear for two minutes. Using a fish spatula, gently flip and sear for another minute or two.
  4. To assemble, smear a generous portion of pesto on your plate and place your fish on top of the pesto. Top each fillet with a small handful of fennel salad.


*NOTE: This recipe can be easily dressed down or dressed up! If it is a weekday, use a simple fish such as tilapia. If you’re hosting a special dinner party, treat your friends and maybe serve halibut instead.

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