Fennel Steak with Mastiha-Yogurt and Olives

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This is the dish that got me an apron on Masterchef. It is inspired by my greek roots, but modernized into a light, healthy and delicious meals.
I love using Mastiha, it is a resin from these unique trees that grow on the island of Chios. Mastiha adds such a delicious spin and brightness to this perfect meal.
Mastiha can be found in any good quality health food store and can be used in sweet and salty dishes, as well as refreshing cocktails. It blends well with all kinds of citrus, fish and even chocolate!


2 large Fennels quartered
1 heaping Tbsp minced red onion
1 1/3 Tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil
25 gr.Greek pitted kalamata olives
25 grams of small Moroccan black olives 
1/2 cup or more depending of fresh orange juice
Grated zest from half an orange (put 4 slices aside for the for Mastiha drink)
20 mint leaves for garnish and steaming
Freshly ground black pepper
130 gr. strained Greek yogurt
70 gr. sheep or goat yogurt
1-2 Tbsp. honey
1 Tsp cane sugar
2-3 Tbsp of raw walnuts or Almonds
3-4 drops essential Chios Mastiha oil or 2 tsp. home-made Mastiha-infused olive oil ( I will bring this from home)
6 mint leaves for garnish


Preheat oven to heat up to 170 degrees. In the meantime, wash and cut the Fennel lengthwise in quarters keeping some of the fronds intact and sprinkle it with salt. Set up a steamer on medium heat and place a couple of orange peels and few mint leaves  in the water for aroma. Place the fennel in the steamer and steam for about 7-9 minutes or until slightly soft and almost cooked through. Once done, remove from heat and set aside.

Place the walnuts in the pre-heated oven and roast for about 9-12 minutes or until desired flavor. Remove from heat and chop into smaller pieces and set aside for garnish.

In  the meantime, in a small skillet over very low heat, sweat the onions in the olive oil for five minutes or until translucent. Remove from heat and add the orange zest, and chopped mint. Season lightly with a little pepper and set aside.

Mix together the two yogurts, honey, and Mastiha oil in a separate bowl.

In a skillet set on medium, add  2 tablespoons of olive oil and begin to brown the steamed fennel on all sides. When you are halfway through the browning process, turn the heat to low and sprinkle some sugar on the cut side of each Fennel and continue to caramelize making sure not to burn it.  Right before you are done caramelizing, sprinkle some sugar on the cut and flat side of the fennel and give it a few seconds on each side., Squeeze the juice of 1-2 oranges depending and swirl the fennel around for a few more seconds so that it can get infused with the orange flavor. You are npw ready to plate.PLATING: To serve: Place 2 tablespoons  of yogurt on the plate and create a circle with a spoon. Place the  caramelized fennel on top. Sprinkle with 2 TBS of the olive-onion mixture and garnish with julienne mint leaves and orange zest plus 1/2 tablespoon of the roasted walnuts.. Place  a few dollops of the Mastha olive oil throughout the plate and on the yogurt. for taste and color.

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