Manolo's Food Blog Manolo Loves the Food!

August 20, 2009


Filed under: Spirits — Mr. Henry @ 8:36 am

Mr. Henry has been playing with his Pernod.

It’s been hot. The AC is still on the fritz. These days Mr. Henry finds he needs a pick-me-up before dinner to soothe the digestive system as well as to relax sweaty thews and sinews.


Pernod, the antique licorice liqueur, with water and lots of ice, a sprig of mint, perhaps a splash of lemon, is a miracle restorative.

But Pernod is also a versatile spirit for cooking for vegetables, desserts, or fish, especially shellfish. At 6:00 p.m. last night it was 90º inside the apartment. There was no question of using the oven to cook. Alongside a cheese omelet Mr. Henry prepared a delicious sliced fennel sautéed in Pernod.


First toss some fennel seed onto a plate. Pour ½ cup of Pernod onto the seeds. Peel and slice a bulb of fennel and lay them on the plate. As your skillet warms, the fennel will absorb some of the Pernod’s volatile essences.

Saute in olive oil over a medium low flame. (Too much heat destroys the delicate aromas of anise.) Sweat the fennel on one side, turn, add remaining Pernod from the plate, and cook slowly until it begins to brown. Top with fresh dill, if some is handy, and a little squeeze of lemon.


Because the aromatics in Pernod derive from the fennel plant and its cousin the star anise, Pernod and fennel are a natural combination. Because Pernod is the least sweet of the licorice liqueurs (ouzo, pastis, raki, et. al.), it is also the most versatile for cooking. By the way, for those of you fond of hallucinogens, you’re too late. Since 1915 Pernod has not included absinthe.


  1. If you have not read “Cooking with Fernet Branca” do ASAP. You are leaning into that territory! Besides, it will give you a good laugh even if it’s too hot to sleep.

    Comment by Judith in Umbria — August 25, 2009 @ 1:47 am

  2. Has Mr. Henry tasted Absinthe? Its legal again and I really want to try it.

    Comment by Phyllis — August 28, 2009 @ 8:02 am

  3. I have tried it, and it turned my mouth into a place old spiders go to die. Vile beyond belief.

    “Cooking with Fernet Branca” is the shizznit. I love that book, and am relatively sure that I once dined at the home of someone who’d read it and did NOT understand the irony. Chocolate olive sauce FTL!

    Comment by raincoaster — September 5, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

  4. Mr. Henry has never tasted Absinthe. Now that they’ve removed the drug from it, what’s the point of the bitter taste?

    Sorry, raincoaster, for your Pernod reaction. It’s definitely an acquired taste. When you’ve spent the day with a stomach ache, however, a glass of the stuff is remarkably soothing.

    “Cooking with Fernet Branca” sounded like a nightmare. Thanks for the warning that it’s a spoof.

    Comment by Mr. Henry — September 6, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

  5. Oh, I wasn’t talking about Pernod: I was talking about Absinthe. Pernod is not something I’d buy, except that I need a splash in a Monkey Gland cocktail, but I don’t HATE it.

    And yes, you must must must read “Cooking with Fernet Branca.”

    Comment by raincoaster — September 7, 2009 @ 12:28 am

  6. M. Henry should taste absinthe. It can be found easily nowadays. By the way, the hallucinogen substance in absinthe was not the plant extracts but the alcohol by itself (often CH3OH instead of C2H5OH) ; and the ban on absinthe was more the result of a lobbying from wine producers on french government than public health policy. Last advice for those who would like to taste : please check about the way to drink it ; unlike spanish anises, absinthe is not made to be swallowed alone. Water and sugar are supposed to be mixed with it before. It is a strange ritual. Anyway, lot of thanks to M. Henry for this webpage which helps me to prove to some of my friends that anglo-saxon people can be interrested in food (other than the fast one). And I know that I should write “Mr.” but I simply cannot. Call it froggie stubborness.

    Comment by Phil — November 5, 2009 @ 9:17 am

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