It's surprising that a hardy green such as fennel is so unknown to so many home cooks, especially considering the vegetable's adaptability: Its bulb, stalks, and fronds are all completely edible, either raw or cooked, and it possesses a pleasing, mild anise flavor. Although it's a perennial, fennel can be found at a reasonable price during Autumn months.
Fennel newbies can sniff it at the market for a hint of the flavor to come. Select sturdy bulbs that are firm and free of blemishes, with vibrant, healthy fronds. Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, for use within 3 to 5 days. Before preparing, trim the vegetable of any discolored or tough outer layers. Discover your favorite way to use it when you read more.
The meatiest part of fennel lies in its firm white bulbs, which have the crunch of celery with a slight licorice flavor, but don't discount the stalks and fronds, which can be used as flavoring for just about any kind of dish. Some serving suggestions:
- Use the light green stalks to add flavor to stocks and broth.
- Chop and sprinkle fronds on soups, pastas, and proteins like fish.
- Serve raw on a crudité platter.
- Serve a delicate poached fennel purée as a hot or cold soup.
- Use a mandoline to shave fennel into an Italian inspired salad.
- Braise fennel with chicken and pears for a warming meal.
- Fennel slices make for great fries, too!
Are you familiar with fennel? How do you incorporate it into your cooking?