This guy showed up in my CSA share last week. I admit, it’s taken me years to like fennel. I use to turn up my nose at the black jelly beans and I always was disappointed when my Italian relatives would add anise flavoring to their homemade pizzelle cookies. It was not until I tried high quality black licorice from my German housemate that I got it. And learned to really embrace the anise flavor (hello Sambuca.)
Fennel is typically in season from autumn through early spring so I’m assuming this the last I’ll see of it until possibly close to when my share season ends in November. Turns out fennel is a great source of Vitamin C, which this dietitian learned after reading a post from CookingLight.com. (An aside – I’ve always loved Cooking Light magazine and their recipes but since being selected as part of their Bloggers’ Connection, Serena & I find ourselves going to the website more and more for these great tutorials, like this one on Discovering Fennel.)
To get an Italian perspective, I turned to my Silver Spoon cookbook (i.e. the Italians’ version of Betty Crocker) and found a simple recipe for poaching fennel with white wine and garlic. I added in some cooked salmon, pasta, used the pasta water to thicken the sauce, sprinkled with the fennel fronds before serving and voilà.Print
The verdict? Poaching the fennel for 20 minutes took away most of the anise flavoring, almost making it a bit plain for my liking (but nice if you aren’t a huge fan of anise flavor.) Next time, I plan to caramelize the fennel or roast with some tomatoes (cooking tip from fellow dietitian, Jill Weisenberger!)
Do you like fennel? If so, how do you prepare it?