Content-Type: Food Blog
Fennel 101: Welcome! Everyone should put this underappreciated vegetable on their plate. Learn how to prepare it, how to cut it, and more as you read on!
Everyone loves kale, but if I had my way, fennel would also be popular. If you’re not currently cooking with it, you should start soon because it’s one of the most underappreciated veggies.
It has a flavor similar to fresh, aromatic anise, and you may eat it raw, sautéed, roasted, or even add it to soups and sauces.
Don’t be scared by this strange-looking vegetable if you’ve never worked with it before. It could seem scary. It’s simple to work with once you know how to go about it.
FENNEL, WHAT IS IT?
Despite not being a root vegetable, fennel is a member of the carrot family. Its long stalks come together at the base to produce a thick, crisp bulb that emerges above the earth.
It has a light, feathery leaves that resemble dill above the bulb, at the tips of the stalks. Fennel also develops little yellow blooms among the leaves as it sets seeds. Its entire body, from the bulb to the blossoms, is edible and can be consumed raw or cooked.
Fennel recipes often call for the bulb, however, the stalks and leaves are also edible. It has a fresh licorice flavor and a crisp, celery-like texture when it is raw.
It becomes sweeter and softer, with a melt-in-your-mouth quality as it caramelizes during cooking.
Did I also mention the numerous health advantages it offers? It has few calories but lots of healthy ingredients like potassium, vitamin C, and dietary fiber, to mention a few.
HOW TO PREPARE FENNEL?
Fennel’s ability to fluctuate in flavor depending on how it is chopped is one of my favorite qualities. Furthermore, the way you prepare this vegetable depends on how you cut it.
When I have a taste for raw fennel, I nearly usually use my mandoline to thinly shave the bulb and remove any tough core portions. I then marinate it in salt, lemon juice, and olive oil. Fennel can be eaten on its own or as part of a bigger salad. It is crisp and thinly sliced. Use it in one of these salad dishes, dress it up with herbs, nuts, and shaved Parmesan cheese, toss it with greens and a basic vinaigrette, or all three.
- Lemon and Fennel Salad with Arugula
- Fennel Salad with Shaves
If you wish to sauté fennel, shaving it is also a wise choice. In the pan, the thin slices will melt and brown, acquiring a delightful caramelized flavor.
I cut it into 1/2-inch wedges if I intend to roast it. Firstly, remove the stalks with scissors so that you will be left with the white bulb. I divided it vertically into two halves, then sliced each half into a number of wedges.
The wedges should be placed cut-side-down on a baking sheet with some space between each one for roasting.
Add olive oil, salt, and pepper before roasting the wedges for 25 to 35 minutes at 400 degrees, or until they are fork-tender and have a caramelized edge.
With a squeeze of lemon, serve the wedges as a side dish or incorporate them into a salad. Alternatively, you may remove the fibrous core pieces and combine this dish with pasta or a substantial vegetarian lasagna.
Most recipes for fennel fronds call for the bulb, but save the tops! Save the fennel stalks and leaves to make your own vegetable broth, or finely mince the fronds to use as a fragrant topping for salads, soups, pasta, and other dishes. Find further suggestions for reusing leftover common vegetable parts.
Even though this dish is straightforward, it remains one of my favorites. The wedges develop an appealing sweet and salty flavor as they caramelize in the oven.
- 1 fennel bulb, fronds removed and cut into wedges
- Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 400 degrees.
- Spread the fennel wedges evenly across the baking sheet after tossing with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Roast them for 25 to 35 minutes, or until they are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.