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Fennel Fronds:  I like to lay lots of them in a baking pan and set a piece of fish for baking on top.

cg

I love fennel salads with oranges and red onions, marinated in citrus juice for a while. thinly slice fennel also goes well with a Mesclun salad, orange segments, feta cheese, Kalamata olives and a little cucumber, with a honey-citrus dressing.

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I have two beautiful fennel plants in my garden and they are now huge. The plants have started to flower, and I figure the seeds will not be too far behind. I know to cut the flowers/seeds and put them into a bag to save the seeds. I need to know what to do with the leafy green though. Can it be cut and dried? Do I pull the bulb out now ( fennel is a biannual after all, so do I pull it now or wait until next year?) I don't want to let any of this beautiful  plant go to waste and I just love the taste of it in food. Any suggestions would be  greatly appreciated.  :biggrin:

Freezing your fennel leaves is a better option than drying them. They will remain a bright green and retain their fresh flavor. Wash the leaves, dry thoroughly, then strip the leaves from the stalk and either freeze whole or chopped in freezer bags or containers. Or you could make a paste from them with a bit of olive oil, freeze the paste in ice cube trays then place them in a bag or container.

You can pull your bulbs now. Or you can wait a bit and pull them right before the weather turns cold (below, say, 35 degrees), allowing them time to reach their maximum size.

A favorite use for the bulb is to make a fennel gratin. Quartered bulbs (depending on size), butter, garlic, salt/pepper, grated parmesan and fine breadcrumbs. Seriously good stuff. I use the fronds in tea (good for an upset stomach), add them to hot or cold pasta dishes (especially with artichoke bottoms or hearts), rice pilaf or in fish dishes. I'm dying to try Pear and Fennel Soup. Fennel is *such* a great plant to have! :smile:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

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Thanks Jennifer, and everyone. I have learned quite a bit about what to do with it. I am planning on growing it again next year. It is such a great, versitile plant with so many uses.  :biggrin:

Last year,I harvested the bulbs too soon so they were really small. I would wait, as late as you can, (before a hard frost) to harvest the bulbs.

I served poached fennel at a wedding reception over the weekend. It was part of an antipasta platter with caponata, marinated mushrooms, fire roasted peppers and marinated olives. I sliced the fennel bulbs in fairly thick slices, and the stalks in even lengths and browned them, on both sides in EVO...I added toasted fennel seeds, fennel fronds, fresh marjoram, bay leaves, sliced garlic, a touch of sugar, two dried chile peppers, lots of peppercorns, salt, sliced lemon, dry vermouth and water. Then covered and poached till tender. It was a big hit, even with guests that had never tasted fennel.

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  • 2 years later...

I'm thinking that if you're asking for spice ideas to give fennel flavor, it may just not be your cup of anise-flavored tea. Or maybe you just had some lame-ish fennel -- very possible this time of year.

At any rate, though, it's a bit of a subtle flavor and you (meaning, of course, I) don't want to step on it too much. I like to poach it in olive oil, gently, with maybe some onion and a bit of garlic thrown in. Or throw it in mixed, fresh vegetables, like your carrots, and splash a little Pernod on top -- the spices in the Pernod tend to work with the anise flavor of the liquor and the anise flavor of the liquor, not surprisingly, works with the fennel. You might think about tarragon.

Finally (not finally, actually, if you want more), you can slice it transparently thin and toss it with lemon, olive oil, parsley and parmesan for a crisp and refreshing side dish.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Try roasting it - it really brings out the flavor. Slice it thinly and roast it with other vegetables, such as red pepper, carrot, red onion, garlic, etc., all tossed in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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A quick braise in orange juice is also good. Slice the fennel, or peel it apart and cut it into similarly sized pieces. Brown it as best as you can in a hot pan, then add fresh oj to it and cover over low heat. Come back in about 10 minutes give or take and test it to see if it's cooked to your liking. The juice should be reduced almost to a glaze when it's done--if it isn't, reduce it. Give it salt and pepper then top with plenty of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley. Delicious.

nunc est bibendum...

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Fennel is very popular in Israel, especially with those who come from North Africa. I usually slice it thiny, add lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of salt and eat it like that. I also made a fennel gratin with it using heavy cream. You can add it to stews; because of its delicate flavour fish and chicken go well with it. Oranges and fennel also make a lovely combination as someone mentioned here.

Cheers, Sarah

http://sarahmelamed.com/

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I just had an awesome dish with fennel the other night. I thinly sliced equal amounts of fennel and thes big soft spring onions that we found at the market (they're like leeks with huge onion bulbs!). Browned them lightly, and used them as a base for braising a veal breast. They all but melted in the oven, and the sauce was so sweet and flavorful.

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I'm thinking that if you're asking for spice ideas to give fennel flavor, it may just not be your cup of anise-flavored tea.  Or maybe you just had some lame-ish fennel -- very possible this time of year.

At any rate, though, it's a bit of a subtle flavor and you (meaning, of course, I) don't want to step on it too much.  I like to poach it in olive oil, gently, with maybe some onion and a bit of garlic thrown in.  Or throw it in mixed, fresh vegetables, like your carrots, and splash a little Pernod on top -- the spices in the Pernod tend to work with the anise flavor of the liquor and the anise flavor of the liquor, not surprisingly, works with the fennel.  You might think about tarragon.

Finally (not finally, actually, if you want more), you can slice it transparently thin and toss it with lemon, olive oil, parsley and parmesan for a crisp and refreshing side dish.

It's funny. I LOATHE anything heavily flavored of anise--licorice, Pernod, etc.--UGH. Which always makes me wary of fennel. Then I have it in a salad and it's great. I have to work hard to remember that I like fennel.

As a variation on the suggestion above w/ parmesan, I like the same mixture tossed with very young, nutty arugula. Heaven as a side to grilled fish in the summer.


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  • 7 months later...

We have a little garden patch at my building that is mostly flowers and herbs. At some point somebody planted fennel or maybe it volunteered. Anyway, it's like a weed. I don't like to waste it, but don't know how to use it. I've done a little research in cookbooks and they say use it like celery, or use the roots. Some compare it to sorel( I don't like sorel.) For one thing, it seems that they would be pretty tough and woody. They're very hard to dig up. I'm wondering if there are different varieties and this is an ornamental variety or something. I've tried online gardening sites like Ann Lovejoy or Cisco Morris and haven't found much. What can I do with this stuff? (I live in Seattle)

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If it is mostly feathery fronds and hollow, tough stems without the bulbous base, it is probably the wild fennel we get here on the west coast rather than the cultivated Florence fennel. I am in Southern California and it pops up along roadsides, in canyons; generally in the same areas as the wild mustard. I love the greenery and the the stems as a roasting bed for pork, fish and chicken, or as the bed when steaming or grilling such items. We do not eat it, we just enjoy the aroma. Plus it is beautiful to look at. Add some more fresh (raw) as the garnish on the platter. I keep planning to collect the pollen, but have never hit the canyons at the optimal time.

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It would be great if you could post a picture. Then we could determine what kind it is. But I have to second Chris's salad recipe, it's just about my favourite way to eat fennel.

You can also cut the bulb in quarters, brush with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast. Delicious!

"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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If its the kind with the fat bulb (the skinny one's aren't as good for this), one of the best ways to eat it is to braise it with orange juice. Quarter, brown the cut sides, add enough oj to come 1/4 of the way up the quarters, and cook covered until very tender and the juice has reduced enough to just coat the pieces. Finish with parsley.

nunc est bibendum...

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Wow! we love fennel. One of our favorite salads is fennel and apple shaved or cut very thinly, tossed with some tarragon, lemon juice and oil. This salad also transports well. We also slice it up and toss with some oil & salt and roast it for a side veg (esp with something like pork), or use it in a broth for mussels. My Italian friend says they just eat it raw (like celery).

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Fennel makes a delicious soup - wilt some onion in oil, add the chopped / sliced fennel bulb, stir once or twice, cover (or more) with chicken stock, season and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Finish with a stick blender, optional cream or milk, and garnish with snippings from the leaf fronds. Mmm. Also excellent chilled.

QUIET!  People are trying to pontificate.

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Bulb fennel (Florence fennel or finnochio) is tricky to grow in the best of conditions - I know, I have grown it with varying results, mostly poor.

Your plant is probably the common fennel with the feathery fronds which are lovely tucked inside whole fish, particularly the fatty type fish, or can be substituted for dill in preparing gravlax.

You can gather the seed heads at any stage from soft and green to ripe and dry. Crush them fresh or dry them and crush and grind to use in breads, cookies, or in chili or other strongly flavored stews.

Great with ham, very complimentary to sausage.

Fennel is a versatile and very hardy plant, as delicate as the fronds are, they stay green even after frosts, as long as it isn't a hard frost - below 22 degrees here.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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