Fennel-chilli salsa

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • For

    four to six

Appears in

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

The Café Paradiso Cookbook

By Denis Cotter

Published 1999

  • About

These two go together really well, even for people who claim to dislike fennel. I think It’s that sweetness/chilli-heat combination again, one of my favourite food tastes at the moment. The brief cooking time given below is one of the few strict times I use. You’re not really trying to cook anything, it’s just to take the sharp rawness off the onion, garlic, chilli and fennel while leaving them crunchy. We use this for the corn pancakes, but like most salsas it is as adaptable as you want it to be. It keeps well for a few days, but the flavours do blur into a single taste, rather than the vibrant, contrasting flavours of their first day together.


  • 1 medium fennel bulb
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 or 2 fresh chillies
  • 3-4 tblspns olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt
  • some chopped fresh parsley and fennel


THE QUANTITIES OF FENNEL, red onion and tomato should be roughly similar when prepared do the fennel first and match the others to that. Coarse outer leaves of fennel may have to be discarded, though the inner core is often edible, especially when chopped very finely and stewed. Dice the fennel, red onion and garlic. Deseed the chillies and slice them thinly - how many you use depends on their heat and your own taste. Pour in about three tablespoons of olive oil, over a moderate heat, cook the fennel, onion, garlic and chillies for two minutes, then remove this immediately to a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients, using enough olive oil to give a slightly wet consistency. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.