Ingredient of the Day: Fennel

Fennel is a peculiar looking white bulb with a green whispy stem. It usually sits on the shelf at the grocery store where only the most experienced cooks shop.  You know where that is- next to the fresh turmeric, ginger and assorted peppers that are hotter than the sun.

(c) HMFG copyright 2018 photo by Mary Moran

As I always advise anyone who is grocery shopping for fresh produce, buy heavy vegetables for a fresher and longer lasting fridge life. Also make sure there are no marks or blemishes on the surface of the bulb. Don’t forget to look for white fennel, they tend to get yellowish and soft as they age.

You’ll notice that the fennel bulb has a very dense outer layer.  The outer layer is thick and is the majority of the fennel, so it’s important to take the time to clean it thoroughly. The exterior is usually laced with dirt, as it grows in the ground like a carrot. The best way to clean it is by using a vegetable brush and/or a small pairing knife that you can scrape the dirt from the surface of the vegetable .

Depending on what I’m cooking I almost always remove the green stems from the away fennel bulb, however there are a few recipes where I will leave a hint of green or reserve some of the stem for decoration.

Once the fennel is cleaned I love slicing it paper thin to add to salads or my newest favorite recipe is roasting it in a 425 degree oven with a hint of oil and salt. It’s a refreshing break to broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.