What Do I Do with This: Fennel

Kieran McCourt, Weavers Way Ambler

Fun Fact No. 1: It’s a member of the carrot family, and No. 2: Its flavor is in the licorice family. 

Fun Fact No. 3: You can use the entire plant —feathery fronds, stalks and bulb

  • The green stalks have a celery-like texture. Put them in a freezer bag to save for stocks. It gives them a nice sweetness. 
  • Chop the fronds to use as a mildly anise-flavored garnish.

The bulb is great sliced raw in a salad, but also:

  • Braise fennel in the oven, adding herbs or orange peel. If you braise in oil, the oil acts as a temperature regulator, and the fennel flesh will get soft and delicate. It makes a nice side dish, tossed with apples, pears, celeriac or beets.
  • Add the chopped bulb to your soup base, along with onion, celery and carrot (a/k/a mirepoix).
  • Cooked-down fennel can be made into a confit to be spread on crostini or a baguette.

**Pro tip: You may see it called Florence fennel or finocchio, and it’s sometimes labeled “anise.” But true anise is a different plant grown only for its seeds.**