Fennel Frond Orzo


Capers, almonds, fennel, scallions and olives are pounded along with vinegar-soaked bread to create the dynamic and delicious sauce for this elegant and lovely orzo salad. Slideshow:  Orzo Recipes 

Fennel Frond Orzo
Photo: © John Kernick
Total Time:
30 mins
4 to 6


  • 8 ounces orzo (1 1/2 cups), preferably whole-wheat

  • One 4-by-4-inch, 1-inch-thick slice of country bread, crust removed and bread cubed

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds

  • 1 garlic clove

  • Kosher salt

  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped

  • 2 scallions, chopped

  • Fronds from 1 leafy fennel bulb ( 1/2 cup), finely chopped (see Note)

  • 10 pitted black olives, such as kalamata, chopped

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small head of radicchio—halved, cored and shredded (4 cups)


  1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the orzo until al dente; drain and transfer to a large bowl.

  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the bread in the vinegar. In a small skillet, toast the coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mortar. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pound with a pestle until a paste forms. One at a time, pound in the capers, almonds, scallions, fennel fronds and olives, until the mixture is chunky. Pound in the soaked bread, then pound in the olive oil, 2 tablespoons at a time.

  3. Add the dressing and radicchio to the orzo, season with salt and toss well.


You can finely chop the fennel bulb and add it to the orzo as well, if desired.

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