Melt the butter over low heat in a heavy-based frying pan until nut-brown, then add a splash of the olive oil and gently seal the fennel quarters on both sides. Add fennel fronds, bay leaves and lemon, if using, then season with salt and pepper.
Add the verjuice or white wine and remaining olive oil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the lid, then increase the heat to high and cook for another 5 minutes, or until fennel is coloured and pan juices are reduced to a syrup.
Remove the fennel, season to taste and serve as a warm salad, topped with spoonfuls of goat’s curd and baby purple basil or chopped parsley.
Recipe from Maggie Beer’s Autumn Harvest (Penguin Books, $29.99).