Friday Feature: Fennel

When I first encountered Fennel, it was like meeting someone at a party and discovering we didn’t speak the same language.  There was a little awkward smiling and nodding and then, with nothing left to say, we moved on.
The next year when Fennel came around again, I had the good fortune to have an interpreter at hand.  Eric, the grower at Taylor Mountain Gardens, who is a close friend of Fennel, made the formal introductions–and this time we clicked.
I have since discovered this odd-looking vegetable with its bulbous white root and frothy fern-like top to be quite a versatile addition to the dinner scene.  Eaten raw it has a slight licorice flavor and sweet crunchy bite.  For more information and lots of good recipes check the Mariquita Farm website.
Try if fresh in a salad.
Using the bulb, it makes a terrific slaw and is a nice addition to salad.  I ran this fennel over my mandoline slicer, which is a useful tool to finely shred or julienne vegetables, to make this green salad.
great with a citrus based vinegarette
Try it hot out of the oven.
This multi-purpose vegetable is also delicious cooked.  Here is my favorite recipe for roasting it adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.
  • fennel bulbs
  • butter
  • coarse salt
  • grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh ground pepper
  • sprigs of thyme

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

Chop off the fennel’s green top, and slice the bulb in half lengthways.

Boil for 10-15 minutes in salted water.

Pull from water with slotted spoon and drain on tea towel, cut side down.

Place in buttered baking dish, cut side up, and brush with melted butter.  Sprinkle top with coarse salt and enough Parmesan cheese to cover.  Grind on pepper.  Top with sprig of thyme.

Place in oven and bake for approximately 25 minutes until top is golden brown.

roasted to perfection
Fennel is also a good source of Niacin, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Folate, Potassium and Manganese.
Make a friend out of fennel and have a great weekend!

 

 

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