43wonderfulwayswithfennel

EAT

A few years ago, I was getting my hair done on Brunswick Street. A girl came in to make an appointment, munching away on something crunchy (which I presumed was an apple). When she left, the hairdresser exclaimed, “Did you see what she was eating?? FENNEL!! Weird”. 

And weird it was. Fennel is one of those ingredients I always see – be it at the market or growing in my neighbour’s garden – but I never know what to do with it. What should I be looking for? And how the heck do I prepare it??

A quick poll of the Food Daily office revealed there’s more to this humble bulb than meets the eye (and uncovered a surprising number of fennel lovers in the office).

Choosing and preparing your fennel

Look for fennel with nice, firm white bulbs and lovely green fronds. Any with splits or discoloration should be left on the shelf (a little bit of browning around the root is OK). Store it in a plastic bag in your vegetable crisper.

Chop off the stalks and fronds (reserve these – you can use them in dips or salads) and remove the tough outer layer from the bulb. Halve and rinse your bulbs, then slice, dice, wedge, or leave whole.

1

Pickled: with oranges, white wine vinegar, chilli flakes and mustard seeds

2

Soup: with roasted tomatoes, onion and thyme

3

Salad: with apple and blue cheese dressing

4

Slaw: with cabbage, capers, anchovies, parsley, and a lemon yoghurt dressing

5

Pasta: with sardines, parsley, capers and pine nuts

6

Pie: fish with smoked paprika, peppers, tomato and basil

7

Stew: with pork, potatoes and red onion 

8

Cure: salmon fillets (Thanks Matt Wilkinson, of Pope Joan, Hams and Bacon and Mr Wilkinson’s fame)

9

Relish: with onion, mustard, chilli, lemon and parsley

10

Risotto: with farro and caramelised apples

11

Braise: with polenta

12

Fry: pork and fennel sausages

13

Dip: roasted and smashed with white beans and garlic

14

Roast: with potato, pumpkin, carrot and leek 

15

Cous cous: with shaved raw fennel

16

Stock: simmered with onion, leek, mushroom, tomatoes and bay leaves

17

Caramelise: and serve with goat’s cheese

18

Bread: diced and baked into bread

19

Grill: with lemon and pecorino

20

Gratin: with a basic Gruyere cheese sauce 

21

Grate: with potato and herbs for latkes

22

Stuff: into a free range chicken with quinoa, onion, celery then roasted

23

Blitz: into a salsa verde with parsley, capers and anchovies

24

Thinly sliced: on toasted sourdough with tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and rosemary for bruschetta

25

Palate cleanse: Frozen thin slices with a sugar syrup glaze (Thanks again Matt Wilkinson)

26

Pesto: with pine nuts, parmesan and garlic

27

Shave: into a salad of rocket and orange segments 

28

Ragu: slow cook with pork

29

Juice: add to any juice combination (try apple and rosemary)

30

Tea: simmer with some lemon zest and honey, chill and serve with mint

31

Dressing: high-speed blend with extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar and wholegrain mustard

32

Oil: Simmer with some orange zest and crushed coriander seeds and strain

33

Mash: into a hash brown 

34

Puree: steamed fennel as a bed for fish or pork 

35

Vichyssoise: French soup with leek, potato, and buttermilk

36

Stir fry: with cabbage, cumin seeds, sesame seeds and garam masala

37

Poach: with fish and dill in parchment paper

38

Flatbread: baked onto flatbread with olive tapenade, feta and thyme 

39

Pate: blitz with mushrooms, cream cheese, lemon zest and thyme

40

Pizza: with prosciutto, thin slices of apple, capers and ricotta

41

Cake: lightly cooked and stirred through a pistachio, star anise cake batter

42

Sprinkle: sliced fronds over muesli for a zesty breakfast

43

Salad: with prosciutto, walnuts, rocket and mandarin segments 

While I don’t think I’ll be rushing out to stock up on fennel as an au naturel afternoon snack, I will definitely try my hand at blitzing, grilling, grating and mashing. 

Related
Vegans beware: the hidden animal products in your food 10 ultimate food rules to live by Is fat the new black?
Keepreading

Thetruthaboutpost-workoutproteinshakes