Fennel is not sold by variety. The small to medium-sized bulb has a mild licorice flavour and a crunchy texture. The bulb, which is pale in colour, is topped by green stems and fronds. Both the bulb and fronds can be eaten.
Look for firm bulbs that are white to pale green in colour, topped with feathery fronds.
Fennel can be refrigerated for up to five days.
Remove the outer leaves of the bulb if they are tough, as well as the hard core of the bulb. Slice raw fennel and add to salads or sandwiches. You can also bake, roast, sauté or steam it to add to soups, stir-fries or casseroles. Chop the fronds and use them as a herb garnish for extra flavour.
4 quick ways with fennel
Try this quick and easy pasta dish: Prepare a package of gnocchi according to packet instructions. Meanwhile, sauté a thinly sliced fennel bulb, red capsicum and onion. Drain gnocchi and combine with fennel mixture, a splash of olive oil, chopped parsley and grated parmesan. If desired, add slices of cooked sausage.
This salad showcases some of winter’s best produce. In a large bowl, combine chopped lettuce with a thinly sliced fennel bulb, 1/2 sliced red onion, a handful of trimmed snow peas, 2 segmented mandarins or 1 segmented grapefruit and a handful of chopped walnuts or almonds. Make a quick dressing from 2 tablespoons each olive oil and orange juice, and drizzle over salad.
Use fennel instead of cabbage in coleslaw. Thinly slice 3 fennel bulbs. Toss with 1 thinly sliced onion, 1 grated carrot, a handful of sultanas, 1/2 cup extra light sour cream, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1/4 cup lemon juice until just combined. Sprinkle chopped fennel fronds over coleslaw before serving.
Create new pizza toppings! In a frying pan, sauté a thinly sliced fennel bulb and an onion. Spread tomato & basil pasta sauce over a pizza base. Then sprinkle with low-fat mozzarella. Top with fennel mixture, dried oregano and chopped olives. Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese melts.
Did you know? Fennel contains folate and is a source of potassium.