Safe to say that I really missed cooking these past two weeks. Everyday I’ve been in the kitchen, whipping up something new and exciting. Aren’t weeks without any major assignments just the best?
Anyway, on one of my recent dinners out there was this strange vegetable sitting on the plate. It kind of looked like an onion with strange tendrils branching in different directions. We were curious, so we asked our waiter and he informed us that it was fennel. I had always heard about fennel, but never tried it and had no idea how to prepare it. Now that I’d tried it and liked it, I searched for it at the grocery store and decided to experiment with it this week. Cue the kitchen madness.
Fennel is a bizarre looking vegetable and is like a cross between celery and an onion, with a slight anise or licorice taste. I am not a fan of licorice, so don’t fear my licorice hating friends. The taste is very subtle and not pungent enough to deter you from eating it. The bulb is what you need to cook, but the fronds provide a beautiful garnish and can also be dried and used in other recipes. Fennel provides an abundance of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin A, and calcium.
Now for the recipes. The first one, parmesan roasted fennel, is a hot recipe and can be served as a side dish, mixed with potatoes, used in a brown rice bowl, or any other way you can think of. The fennel-carrot slaw is cold and is delicious by itself, on salads, or on tacos. Experiment and take your pick! Side note, took me about twenty minutes to decide how to shred the fennel for this. Life gets tough when you have no mandolin and no patience for chopping tiny pieces…
I made these servings for one; the parmesan roasted fennel lasted me two days and the slaw made a large amount and lasted about 3-4. Go ahead and double or triple the recipes if serving a large group.
Parmesan Roasted Fennel
- 1 Fennel Bulb, dense core removed and rest of bulb sliced thin into wedges
- 3 tbs olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a bowl mix the fennel, olive oil, salt, and pepper until everything is thoroughly coated.
- Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- Place fennel on the sheet and roast for about 30 minutes.
- Remove fennel and sprinkle the cheese on top.
- Place back in the oven and roast for 10-15 more minutes until tender.
- Serve and enjoy!
Fennel and Carrot Slaw
- 1 Fennel Bulb, dense core removed
- 2 large carrots
- A mandolin, peeler, or sharp knife, box grater may work too
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbs tangy, dijon, or whole grain mustard, your choice
- Wedge of lemon
- Salt and pepper
- After you’ve removed the core from the fennel, look for the layers in the bulb.
- Separate each layer.
- Using your peeler, hold the wedge at an angle and peel against the SIDE of the bulb. Not the flat rounded part, but the tiny, thin side.
- You can also use a mandolin or sharp knife to peel and chop, but I worked with what I had on hand.
- Shred all of the layers into strips, add to bowl.
- Shred the carrots into strips using the peeler, add to bowl
- In a separate container, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper until blended.
- Pour over the carrots and fennel, mix, and let chill for two hours before serving.
- Top with pumpkin seeds, apple, avocado, or frond shavings and enjoy!