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Fennel, Tomato, and Green Olive Tajine

April 20, 2023

A tajine is a Moroccan stew named after the shallow earthenware pan in which it is cooked. The cooking vessel consists of a round, flat-bottomed dish with a conical lid that fits snugly onto the base, enabling the stew to be slowly simmered in a small amount of liquid until it is cooked. Tajines usually include meat or poultry, but this one consists of fennel simmered in olive oil with tomatoes, green olives, saffron, fresh ginger, and lemon juice. It can be served hot or at room temperature with some crusty bread on the side.

Featured in: The Ancient Wonders of Fennel


  • 2 or 3medium fennel bulbs, about 1 lb.
  • 4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3or 4 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 or 2garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ½teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • a pinch of saffron threads
  • ¾cup peeled, seeded, and chopped ripe tomatoes
  • ½cup pitted and halved green olives
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 or 2tbsp lemon juice, to taste
  • crusty bread, to serve
Yield: 4 servings


  • Step 1

    Wash the fennel bulbs and remove the outer leaves and stalks. Trim the bases, then cut lengthwise into thin wedges. Steam the fennel slices for 7 or 8 minutes or until they start to soften. Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the steamed fennel. Cook over a moderate heat until it is tender and golden on both sides.

  • Step 2

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in another frying pan and add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and saffron. Cook over a moderate heat for 3 minutes or until they start to color. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and black pepper. Cook over a moderate heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until the sauce is reduced. Add the fennel, green olives, lemon juice, and a few tablespoons hot water and simmer, covered for 5 more minutes to blend the flavors, adding a little more water if necessary. Sprinkle with parsley and serve hot or at room temperature with crusty bread on the side.

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