Have you ever wandered into the produce booths at the farmers market and seen a vegetable or two (or three) that you did not recognize? I know that I have. Many, in fact, and I consider myself a bit of a foodie and an amateur gardener. And so I am on a mission this year to learn about and to try a few of those unfamiliar foodstuffs…
This farmers market find, honestly, is something I have used before. But for the life of me, I cannot remember how or for what. So its nice to meet you again, fennel. You are a pretty thing to look at.
Fennel is an aromatic yellow-flowered European plant of the parsley family, with feathery leaves. The thin leaves smell wonderful and can be used completely separately from the bulb.
How to use it.
- As an addition to chicken or tuna salad. I despise celery, and sometimes onion has too strong of a flavor for soft salads. But fennel adds a crunch, with a nice mellow flavor to a chicken or tuna salad. Bonus: chop up some of the leaves to add flavor and aroma.
- Roasted with potatoes. Chop the fennel with chopped potatoes and coat generously with olive oil and your spices of choice. Roast at 400 degrees until crispy about 40-50 minutes.
- In pasta. I found a great recipe for fettuccine with vegetables and ham in good ol’ Betty Crocker.
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb asparagus
1 cup tomatoes. chopped and seeded
2 ounces prosciutto or fully cooked ham. cut into strips
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
and don’t forget your fettuccine
While cooking fettuccine, saute fennel in oil for 3 minutes. add asparagus and cook all for another 4 minutes. add tomatoes and ham for another 2 minutes. toss all with pasta and sprinkle with cheese. deli sh. (you can also add the chopped fennel leaves for extra seasoning)
- It can be wonderful raw. Slice thinly and add lemon juice, salt and a little olive oil for a light summer salad with that natural slight anise flavor.
How else have you tried fennel?