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Crostini with tapenade and braised fennel

Valentina Harris' veggie canapes are full of flavour and very moreish.


  • 1 loaf ciabatta, sliced thinly and toasted lightly

  • 2 ½  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 jar tapenade

  • 2 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • Cold water

  • 2 bulbs fennel, sliced thinly, then chopped

  • Sea salt and freshly milled black pepper

  • 1 small red pepper, washed and de-seeded, cubed very finely

  • sprigs of fresh flat leaf parsley, to garnish


  • 1.

    Brush all the toasted bread slices lightly with about half the olive oil. 

  • 2.

    Spread each slice with the tapenade.

  • 3.

    Put the finely sliced and chopped fennel into a frying pan with the rest of the oil and a little cold water. Braise slowly, stirring frequently, until soft and cooked through.  Season with a little salt and pepper, drain off any excess liquid, and then carefully place a small mound of braised fennel on top of each slice, making sure that the tapenade shows up all the way around. 

  • 4.

    Top with a few cubes of raw red pepper, an olive and a fresh flat leaf parsley leaf.  Serve at once.

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