Saffon Fennel Confit Recipe


Our Saffron Fennel Confit recipe is a simple recipe that produces amazing flavors – one of our favorite types of recipes! 

If you haven’t cooked with saffron, the flavors of this dish will be something completely new to you. This spice is actually the stamens of a crocus flower, and the floral flavors of the crocus really shine. A combination of earthy, floral, and sweet notes are unique to saffron. 

Fennel and saffron are a classic pairing in French, Spanish, and Italian dishes. That pairing makes perfect sense, as fennel also has sweet notes that become sweeter the more it is cooked. This sweetness works well with the floral notes of saffron. 

When serving this dish, we balance the sweet notes of the fennel and saffron with the tanginess of yogurt and the sharpness of Harissa. 

How To Confit

Confit duck seems to be what one thinks of when it comes to confit. Confit vegetables use the same concept of cooking low and slow in large amounts of fat, producing a tender dish full of flavor.

The lovely thing about confit dishes is they take very little hands-on work. This dish goes into the oven and does its thing while you do your thing (whatever that may be – sitting down with a hot cup of tea, perhaps?). 

After forty-five minutes, the fennel comes out of the oven and is meltingly tender and infused with a sweet and earthy saffron flavor. 

What to Pair Saffron Fennel Confit With

This fennel recipe makes a lovely appetizer on its own or paired with warm bread. It also makes a delicious side dish for a simple roast chicken and tossed green salad. 

This dish will make a lot of sauce. This leftover confit butter is delicious, and you’ll want to save it for future meals! 

A few suggestions on how to use it: 

  • Reuse for another batch of confit vegetables – this sauce is also delicious used to confit artichoke hearts
  • Drizzle over grilled seafood
  • Swirl into hummus
  • Dress greens and sliced citrus to make a lovely salad
  • Add to mayonnaise to make a dip for french fries



Saffron. This coveted spice smells both earthy and sweet. Saffron has a honeyed sweet and earthy flavor that is difficult to describe. You have to taste it to understand it. 

Although this spice seems surrounded by mystic, it is actually easy to cook with. While you can drop saffron directly into a dish, it is best to infuse the saffron in a hot liquid. By infusing the saffron, its flavor can be more evenly distributed throughout the dish.  In this recipe, the saffron is infused in the water and butter mixture that is used to confit the fennel. 

Harrissa. Harissa is a North African spice blend. Although often thought of as spicy, this seasoning doesn’t add an intense heat, but rather adds a deep and complex flavor.

In this recipe, we create our own harissa paste by blending Harissa Spice Blend with a bit of oil and tomato paste. If tomato paste isn’t available, or you’d rather not open a can for such a small amount, ketchup works just as well. 

Pacific Flake Sea Salt. Pacific Flake Sea Salt is an all-natural kosher flake salt that is our everyday go-to salt.

At SpiceTopia we offer these spices and over 100 more! Most Fair-Trade and Organic – all fresh & delicious!

Fennel. Fennel has a very mild anise or licorice flavor that becomes sweet when sautéed, braised, or confit. 

Many people turn up their noses at the mention of licorice flavor. If you are one of those people and have only experienced licorice in jelly bean or candy form, please push that experience out of your mind when trying fennel. Comparing this licorice flavor to a jelly bean is like comparing the flavor of fresh cherries to cherry cough syrup! 

When preparing the fennel, slice off any dirty bottom part of the bulb. Then slice in half lengthwise. Normally, at this point, you would cut out the core. Instead, leave it in place so it stays in one piece. The fennel is cooked long enough to actually soften the core and make it edible. 

Fat. This recipe uses butter instead of the traditional olive oil to confit the fennel. We feel that the flavors of olive oil did not pair well with saffron, while butter works much better. 

Yogurt. In this saffron recipe, the yogurt serves as the base for the dish, so it needs to be on the thicker side. Greek yogurt works well. 

Let’s Get Cooking!

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Saffon Fennel Confit Recipe

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 45 mins Rest Time 10 mins Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Cooking Temp: 350  °F Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year



  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Cut fennel bulbs in half lengthwise. Leave the core to help keep the fennel bulb intact. Trim off the fronds and save for garnishing.

  3. Place the butter, sugar, salt, water and saffron in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.

  4. While the saffron mixture comes to a simmer, place the fennel halves cut-side down in a baking dish big enough to hold them in a snug single layer. We use a 10-inch cast iron skillet.

  5. As soon as the saffron mixture comes to a simmer, pour over the fennel. Cover tightly with a lid or foil.

  6. Place in the oven for 45 minutes, turning the fennel halfway through.

  7. While the fennel bakes, stir together the Harissa Spice Blend, oil, and tomato paste. Set aside.

  8. After 45 minutes, remove the fennel from the oven. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

  9. To serve, place a tablespoon of yogurt and a teaspoon or two of the harissa mixture on each plate. Top with a fennel half, drizzling it with some of the cooking liquid. Garnish with fennel fronds.

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