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. So what is that thing I saw at the Farmers Market?
What’s that thing at the Farmer Market?
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 it’s nice to meet you again, fennel. You are a pretty thing to look at.
What is Fennel?
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 Fennel
- 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. (recipe below)
- 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.
Fettuccine with Vegetables & Ham Recipe
- 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
- While cooking fettuccine according to package instructions. 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. (you can also add the chopped fennel leaves for extra seasoning)
How else have you tried fennel?
Find more Lake County Farms where you can pick, play and learn about agriculture.
By Jenna B.
Jenna is an active wife and mom of 2 game-changers. A professional Counselor by trade, Antioch resident, and native Cheesehead, this mindful momma is laid back and up for any mess or adventure, doing her best to live in the moment. When not tuning out or taming tantrums, she’s running, cooking, reading, creating music, or shopping local.