Fennel, A Touch of Licorice and Crunchy
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Put a new vegetable in your life! fennelCooked, or raw, fennel is tasty.

Though Mediterranean in origin, fennel’s shape resembles a Scottish bagpipe, from its bulb-shaped base to as many as six celery-like stalks jutting awkwardly outward. Above these, as with a bagpipe’s tassels, fennel’s feathery, dill-looking “leaves” decorate each stalk end. A member of the parsley family, the bulb of fennel has the texture of celery and is used from antipasto to fine desserts. This curious organic creation tastes mildly like anise or licorice. Yes. This bulb configuration is also the source of fennel seed and a very highly-prized, expensive fennel pollen. 

This specimen is not the result of genetic engineering gone astray though it looks that way. Early on, King Charlemagne insisted fennel be grown in the palace gardens. Later all the Romans were making elaborate salads with fennel and a vinaigrette dressing. Shakespeare enjoyed fennel bulb with fish.  

Rich in vitamin A, this vegetable has a fair amount of calcium, phosphorus, iron and potassium.  

Select firm bulbs, not brown and its green top not limp. Store the entire vegetable tightly wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator.  

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:  

Delicious braised, steamed, sautéed, grilled or raw – may be breaded, fried, sautéed or roasted  Microwave scored, seasoned bulb drizzled with olive oil for 5 minutes and serve topped with fresh lime juice.   

Use any place you would use celery 

Delicious raw and in salads 

Compatible with olive oil, butter, thyme, bay, parsley, fennel seeds, orange, lemon, saffron, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, garlic, chili and cumin. 

Use with parmesan, gruyere, Stilton or goat cheese 

Make a salad of sliced, raw fennel, lemon, olive oil, blood oranges, pomegranate seeds. Add grated pecorino cheese 

Use stalks in soups 

Use “leaves” as you would use the herb dill. Simply chop roughly. 

Foodsites with fennel recipes: 

http://allrecipes.com/recipes/fruits-and-vegetables/vegetables/fennel/top.aspx 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/25/fennel-recipes_n_1152097.html 

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/roasted_fennel/

Legalized Fairy Dust — Fennel Pollen
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The folks at  famed Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan, refer to fennel polen as, “Fairy dust for food lovers — it makes food sparkle with flavor.”  They further confess, “Wow. In twenty years of cooking and traveling, I’ve never tasted anything else remotely like this. It’s exhilarating—intoxicating even. When I’m having a rough day I just open the jar and stick my nose inside. Its aroma is sweet and pungent, smelling intensely of everything great about fennel and then some. Continue reading