Adventures in Cooking: Fennel

fennelI like to think of myself as fairly adventurous in both cooking and eating. With the exception of making yeast breads (too many failures to count), I’m willing to try making just about anything. And vegetables? I’ve yet to meet one that I don’t like, if not love.

All that aside, somehow, the mighty fennel completely slipped under my radar. Not only had I never purchased or prepared fennel, I’ve never even eaten it (unless some chef slipped it into a dish without my knowledge). It’s not that I was unaware of fennel, I just didn’t know how to prepare it.

For some odd reason, I not only started thinking about fennel this week, I actually bought two bulbs. But what to do with it? Yes, that’s right, I purchased it with no recipe in mind. When I got home, I decided to give roasted fennel a try. I quickly searched for some recipes, and discovered a very simply one.

I sliced the bulb into approximately 1/4 inch slices, tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of balsamic vinegar, and then spread them out on a cooking pan (lined with tin foil to help with cleanup). I roasted them for about 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven, flipping them over once about halfway through. It was delicious! Although fennel is known for having a licorice scent and flavor (and I love licorice), it wasn’t overwhelming.

I liked it so much, that I’m now on a quest for other fennel recipes. I posted about it on Facebook, and friends have suggested a variety of dishes that sound great, including cooked with cheese, sauteed with halibut, and slicied in a salad. I also found a few interesting ideas online, including adding some chopped into tuna salad.

Do you cook with fennel? If so, what are some of your favorite preparations?

LinnieGayl

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10 Responses to “Adventures in Cooking: Fennel”

  1. Jane AAR says:

    shudder. I do not like fennel. Granted, I’ve only had it in herb form, but even then I don’t enjoy it. Good luck with your cooking adventures, though!

  2. Oh dear, Jane. Now that you mention it, I don’t think I’ve ever had fennel in herb form either. I’ll have to give it a try :)

  3. Missie says:

    I salute your adventurous nature, as well!

    I am not a fan of licorice, so fennel isn’t something I’ve ever eaten or thought of cooking with — though if that’s a picture of it in your post, I will say it’s an attractive thing. ;-)

    Fennel, carraway (sp?) seed, and Earl Grey tea — three things that I just simply don’t care for…sorry!

    I do think I’d like leeks, though…maybe I should hunt out some leeks and try those in honor of your adventures with fennel! :-)

    Good luck finding more ways to use fennel.

  4. Jean AAR says:

    My friend had fennel growing in her veggie and herb garden, and one day after dinner she introduced me to herb fennel as a natural after dinner mint. The licorice works wonders. I actually like it a lot.

  5. Jean, that’s an interesting thing about the herb fennel.

    Missie, the only way I’ve used leeks is in soup, but they’re fantastic that way.

  6. Jean AAR says:

    Ooh, I love leeks! My favourite usage is in a salmon quiche/pie with puff pastry. Yum.

  7. Salmon and leek quiche sounds really good, Jean. I’m going to have to look for a recipe.

  8. Missie says:

    Linnie, I’ve been thinking, and you know, I do believe that dried fennel (‘though I suppose one could use fresh, as well) is an ingredient in sausage (be it pork, turkey, beef, or whatever sausage). Now, I don’t care for sweet sausage at all (and I think sweet sausage is seasoned primarily with fennel), but spicy sausage, I do like. I do believe one of my cookbooks even has a recipe for turkey sausage that you make from ground turkey; it’s pretty simple, as I recall; let me know if you want it, please.


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