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.
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: