Lots and lots of it (:
I've learned to love this plant. Until last summer I had never even tried it. Then a French friend told me about how wonderful it was, so I decided to try it. I went to the grocery store and bought 1, brought in home and made a potato-fennel soup recipe I found online. Everyone in the family loved it... so that settled it. I bought 2 dozen fennel starts this spring just to see if it grows well in my garden...
In fact, it grew so well that we had way more than we can eat. Needless to say, we took about a dozen and a half large stalks down to the homeless shelter... where the cooks will turn it all into a delicious meal for the homeless for tonight. I also took my potato-fennel soup recipe to them. They already had one of their own! Those people are amazing... they take whatever is donated to the shelter and turn it into great meals!
Bulb fennel is a powerhouse of nutrition. A one cup serving provides you with:
- 4% RDA iron and calcium
- 17% RDA vitamin C
- 3 grams dietary fiber
- Only 27 calories
- It is also high in potassium and surprisingly enough Vitamin A.
Look for vegetables that are firm and heavy in your hand, with a fresh aspect to the green top, and no brown spots on the bulb.
You can store fennel in the refrigerator for several days, although it does tend to lose some of its flavor the longer you keep it. Wrap it well or store it in a plastic container to keep it fresh and avoid having its flavor mingle with everything else in your refrigerator.
Before preparing these fennel recipes, you need to cut off some of bulb. Begin by removing the green tops, which can be set aside and dried to flavor a soup or stew. If you want whole bulbs just cut off a small piece of the base. Otherwise, cut it off at about 1/2 inch, then remove the two most outer leaves which can be tough.
You can serve raw fennel slices with a dip. The leaves make great scoopers and the fennel adds a pleasant licorice taste. Fennel can be chopped finely and served in a salad as in the recipe below. You might also like to try raw fennel with apples, melon, ham, or smoked salmon.
And one other recipe from "All Recipes" just for fun
Baked Fennel with Parmesan
2 fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
|1.||Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the base off of the fennel bulbs, and cut a cone shape into the base to remove the core. You can see the core because it is whiter than the surrounding green. This is optional, but helps the fennel cook faster. Slice the fennel vertically (upright) into 1/4 inch thick slices.|
|2.||Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, and fry for about 5 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and creme fraiche until well blended. Transfer to a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.|
|3.||Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown and the fennel is tender enough to pierce with a fork.|
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