Grilled Small Plates: Fennel with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Reduction

There will have to be vegetables at our party. Here is a twist on my favorite way to fix fennel.

First of all, let’s talk about how to cut fennel for this dish. You start by washing it, then cut the tough bottom off and the stems and fronds, reserving some fronds (those wispy green hairs on top). Fennel is usually oblong so you want to cut it in half lengthwise, ending up with two thick pieces, as opposed to two long pieces. Next, you want to remove the hard core by slicing a triangle out of each bottom. Lastly, you want to cut fairly thick pieces (1/4- 1/2 inch) lengthwise, starting with the round end. This first piece will be shaped like a cup. If you cut the other way, which many chefs do for some reason, it is much more fibrous.


  • 2 Fennel Bulbs, cleaned and cut as described above, fronds reserved
  • 3 oz. Goat Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Chef’s Knife
  • Grill
  • Sauce Pan
  • Whisk
  1. Pour balsamic vinegar in sauce pan and reduce over med-high heat. Whisk as you go so it doesn’t burn. Reduce by half, until syrupy. It won’t take long.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Chop the fronds finely.
  4. Grill sliced fennel for a few minutes on each side. You don’t want the pieces to be too thin, or they will burn, but not so thick that they won’t soften while grilling.
  5. After you flip add a dollop of goat cheese to each and let melt slightly.
  6. Remove, drizzle with the balsamic reduction and top with a few of the chopped fronds.

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