Cucumber and Fennel Meze

Author Notes: Not quite a pickle and not quite a salad these Turkish flavors could grace your meze table in a Middle Eastern feast. - SippitySupSippity Sup (Greg Henry)

Food52 Review: The cucumbers and fennel in this recipe are wonderfully spiced. The tart, almost-pickles come out with the perfect amount of snap. The spicy cucumbers would be great on any meze platter. - Stephanie
The Editors

Serves: 4


  • 1 pound very young cucumbers or better yet, Persian cucumbers
  • 2 very young fennel bulbs
  • 3 Thai bird chilis or similar hot pepper
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into several pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste) optional
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • olive oil to taste


  1. Cut your cucumber into 1/2-inch spears. You may need to quarter or half them. Young Persian cucumbers can often be left whole. You are looking for uniformity, so use your judgment.
  2. Trim the fennel bulbs evenly, and cut them lengthwise into quarters. retain the fronds for garnish. Remove some of the core, keeping the layers intact. Slice these into 1/2-inch slices.
  3. Put the cucumbers, fennel, Thai chilis and garlic cloves into a low-sided large baking dish.
  4. Add all the remaining ingredients to a large, non-reactive, saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool some for about 5 minutes. Then poor the hot liquid over the cucumber fennel mixture, stirring to coat well. The liquid should nearly cover all the ingredients. If not add a bit more water.
  5. Let the mixture cool completely. You may then cover the dish and move it into the refrigerator. They will be ready to eat in about 4 hours, but will be at their best if you wait until the next day before eating them. Serve chilled on a family style platter with a bit of the marinade and a good drizzle of fruity olive oil. Garnish with fennel fronds.

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Reviews (3) Questions (0)

3 Reviews

BoulderGalinTokyo July 14, 2014
Beautiful, beautiful picture!
Deborah C. September 21, 2012
Thank you for this recipe. I was looking for a unique fennel and cucumber salad - made this and Iove it!
i2iKen June 11, 2010
Thanks Greg for turning me on to this site! I like your cucumbers too. Ken