I just adore Fennel. It's a lovely vegetable, with a delightfully crisp and crunchy texture and a mild licorace flavour. I could eat it just like an apple. I find it wonderfully refreshing and incredibly delicious . . .
Mind you, I can sit and eat All Sorts by the handful, and would . . . but for my conscience.
Did you know that there are both male and female fennel bulbs??? The shorter squat bulb is the female . . . surprise, surprise! Whilst the taller, more slender bulbs are the males. There is no discernable difference in taste between the two. They're both lovely.
Fennel is lovely braised or roasted. The resulting flavour is very mild and it has a beautiful meltingly tender texture, not at all stringly like one would think. Fantastic with fish, and surprisingly tasty with cheese!
I love it in salads though . . . that is where it really shines, and it is my favourite way of preparing it. Sliced into coleslaws, it gives an intriguing flavour that has people wondering what that additional little flavour it. Chopped and added to a leafy salad, it adds a lovely crunch . . .
Thinly sliced and starring in it's own salad, it is wonderfully refreshingly gorgeously delicious. I like to use both the crisp layers and the fronds. It goes fabulously well with citrus fruits, especially orange, which somehow enhances it's delicate flavour. The additional crunch of richly toasted pinenuts is an extravagent addition and adds another wonderful layer of flavour in this fantastic salad.
I love this salad so much I could eat the whole thing all by myself . . . but I restrain myself and share it with Todd. Once dressed you must eat it immediately.
Not a problem . . .
*Fennel Salad with Citrus*
This is a deliciously light and refreshing salad on a warm day.
1 large bulb of fennel
the zest and juice of one lemon
1 navel orange
3 TBS pine nuts, toasted
a splash of olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Trim your fennel, cutting off any shoots, reserving the fronds, and discarding. Also any bruised or tatty looking or wilted outer bits. Cut the fennel bulb in half and cut out the core, discarding it. Slice the fennel halves paper thin using a mandolin, if possible. Place in a bowl. Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl, along with the zest of the orange. Using a sharp knife, cut all the pith away from the orange, exposing the inner flesh. Again, with a sharp knife, cut into the orange, between the sections, and slice out the flesh into the bowl. Squeeze the remainder of the orange over the bowl, allowing all the juices to fall into it. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into the bowl as well. Chop the fennel fronds coarsely and add along with the pine nuts, a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper to taste. Toss together and serve immediately.