If you haven’t tried fennel, you are missing out. This season, LA farmer’s markets have been bursting with gorgeous fennel bulbs and it has been on my menu more than ever.
I used to avoid using this vegetable because I assumed it had a strong licorice taste, a flavor that I don’t care for.
Much to my surprise (and after some convincing from reading other food blogs), I discovered that the fennel bulb has only the subtlest hint of licorice. Most of the licorice or anise-like flavor is captured in the leaves and seeds.
How many vegetables do you assume you hate without ever trying ’em?
My favorite ways to prepare fennel:
- Roasted – slice thick (1/4 -1/2 inch) and dress with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in a hot oven until the fennel is soft when pierced with a fork. It almost has a creamy texture, which is quite the contrast to its raw state.
- Salad – cut thinly with a sharp knife or a mandolin and toss in a light-flavored dressing. Crunchy and aromatic. Here’s my simple recipe.
Shaved Fennel Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing
- 1 large fennel bulb (reserve a few green leaves for garnish)
- 1/4 cup lime juice (from 2-3 limes, depending on size)
- 1 teaspoon honey (more or less to taste. I use a really tasty raw honey I snagged at a little shop in Bishop while driving from LA to Mammoth)
- splash of extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Using a mandolin set on the thinnest setting, shave fennel bulb. Alternatively, use a sharp knife and cut paper-thin slices. (You can save the stems in your freezer for making chicken or beef stock.)
- Mix lime juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- Toss in fennel
- Garnish with a few tender green leaves from the fennel tops if desired.
- Marinate for 30+ minutes. (Hint: The longer it sits, the better it gets!)
Do you like fennel? How do you prepare it? Never tried it, but curious?
I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below. If you liked this post and want to learn more healthy recipes, nutrition tips, and Pilates tidbits, sign up for email updates below.
Bonus points to anyone who can name the 3 vegetables pictured in the image below.