Take one taste of fennel, and you understand why chefs and home cooks are hooked on this Mediterranean veggie staple, now widely available in supermarket produce sections and farmers’ markets in the United States. Crunchy and sweet when raw, tender and mildly anise-flavored when cooked, fennel adds subtle flavor and texture to soups, sauces, salads, and even quiche.
Beyond the Bulb
The bulbous bottom of fresh fennel is not the only edible part of the plant.
FRONDS Snip off the delicate tops, and sprinkle over dishes the way you would parsley, basil, or mint.
STALKS Slice or dice, and use in place of celery.
DRIED SEEDS The common fennel found in the supermarket spice section can be used like cumin or caraway to flavor soups, stews, breads, and other baked goods. Or brew some fennel tea, which is reputed to aid digestion, by steeping 1 teaspoon dried seeds 5 minutes in 1 cup boiling water.March 2012 p.54
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Orzo with Fennel and Tomato Ragoût
Fennel and tomatoes are a classic combination in Italian pasta sauces.more
Fennel, Roasted Red Pepper, and Goat Cheese Quiche
Low-fat whipped cottage cheese lends a rich texture to this crustless quiche. The recipe can be made up to a day ahead, and reheated just before serving.more
Split Pea, Fennel, and Spinach Soup
This vibrant soup makes great use of leftover fennel stalks.more