When I come home from my Saturday morning visits to the Sugar Land Farmer’s Market, the temptation to photograph my finds results in pictures like these. The fennel, leeks, and spinach lying on my counter here all wound up in different recipes and were delicious. I sauteed the spinach with a little olive oil and garlic and served with balsamic vinegar. The leeks went into a quiche. But these beautiful fennel bulbs were the star.. I only discovered fennel a few years ago. We like it raw in salads, roasted, baked with sliced potatoes in an iron skillet, and added to a variety of vegetables. Fennel has a sweet, anise or licorice flavor that’s strongest when it’s raw but much more mellow when it’s cooked.
Most fennel recipes call for just the white bulb. When thinly sliced, the fennel bulb is great in salads — it’s crunchy and slightly sweet and subtly licorice-like, but not as pungent as black licorice candy. The stalks can be used to make stock, or chopped and sauteed with other vegetables in a mirepoix (a typical French blend of onion, celery and carrot) for a soup or stew. The fronds can be added to salads or used to garnish dishes.
Try this braised fennel!
- 2 fennel bulbs (sometimes called anise; 10 to 12 oz each) with fronds
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup water