Ever see that white bulb with long green stalks and frilly fronds branching out on the wet vegetable rack at the market and wonder, “Who uses that odd-looking fall vegetable? And what in the world do you do with it?” Fennel, often called Sweet Anise, has the crisp texture of Celery when raw and tastes of licorice. That distinctive flavor tones down and becomes sweeter when the Fennel is cooked. The entire vegetable is edible, but most people simply trim the green tops off, core the fibrous base from the bottom and slice white bulb into pieces (like you would an onion) or into wedges.
How do you use Fennel?
Roasted and sautéed Fennel recipes are my favorite. The use of high heat until the Fennel becomes translucent and lightly caramelized brings out a delicious result. I’ve also enjoyed luxurious casserole and gratin recipes featuring Fennel.
Raw Fennel slices add nice flavor and crunch to salads, pairing well with bitter greens and citrus. Plus, you can chop up Fennel fronds to garnish salads like an herb, like in this Fennel and Mandarin Salad. Fennel is great for juicing too! It can be substituted for Celery in most juicer recipes and adds a hint of licorice flavor that pairs well with Mint and Lime. Like Celery, it provides lots of liquid volume that is loaded phyto-nutrients without many calories to juice blends.