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Fennel, Orange and Olives with Harissa

By Ceri Jones, Garden Museum Food Learning Officer

Autumn is the most plentiful time of year for UK seasonal produce. Look out for beetroot, butternut and all manner of squashes, celeriac, fennel, Jerusalem artichoke, kale, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, swede and turnips to name but a few.

You’re most likely to find the height and variety of seasonal produce at your local greengrocers, farm shop or farmers markets, and it’s fun to seek out unusual or heritage varieties of popular veg.

This all sounds rather luxury, but the best news is that food is always at its most economical at the height of its season. When in season, fresh vegetables (which carry a short shelf life) are usually abundant, and are often priced at eye catching prices, so that they fly off the shelves while still fresh.  

To coincide with the launch of the Fronds scheme, we thought we’d share a recipe using fronds -  fennel fronds. Fennel fronds are the green spindly bits that hang off fennel stalks. The fronds, like the bulb have a note of aniseed, and I like to think of them in a recipe as a cousin to the herb dill.

Most fennel bulbs sold in shops and markets, have had their stalks trimmed (mostly from an ease of storage point of view), but even so you should still be able to find enough to use in this recipe.

Fennel, Orange and Olives with Harissa

Serves 2-4 as a side dish


1 fennel, hard core removed, thinly sliced with a knife or mandoline, reserve the fronds

juice half lemon

1 small cucumber, thinly sliced with a knife or mandoline,

2 orange, sliced into segments or thinly sliced

1 tsp harissa paste mixed with 1 tsp olive oil

Handful pitted green or black olives approx 50g

handful mint, shredded

Handful toasted pine nuts

Salt and ground black pepper


  1. Place your thinly sliced fennel in a medium sized bowl, squeeze over the lemon juice and add a pinch of salt. Toss all together and let the fennel sit in the juice for 10-15 minutes to soften up.
  2. Meanwhile prep all the rest of your ingredients.
  3. Toss the cucumber into the fennel, along with the orange segments and olives
  4. Mix together the harissa with the olive oil, then pour over the salad ingredients, toss everything together with your hands, to make sure the harissa covers all the ingredients.
  5. Add in the mint, reserved fennel fronds and season with black pepper
  6. Plate up and scatter over the pine nuts