How to Cook Fennel 07/22/12
Ever wondered how to cook fennel? Laura Cooke finds out what to do with this aromatic vegetable.
Not too long ago somebody gave me a big bunch of fennel – and I had no idea what to do with it. Do you cook the leaves? The stalks? Do you use it like celery?
Sometimes vegetables can be a little intimidating and I know that I tend to avoid “weird” vegetables in favour of those I am more familiar with.
After a little research I realised that I wouldn’t have known how to deal with this liquorice-ish plant without some external advice. Turns out there is a lot that you can do with fennel, you just need to know which part to use.
Here are a few ways to cook this sweet and aromatic vegetable:
Chop the bulb into wedges and saute with olive oil, oil or butter until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Slice the bulb like an onion and fry on the braai (barbecue) or griddle pan. They become sweet and smoky.
Add to your usual vegetable roast for added flavours. Chop any shape you like.
Use the bulb in place of or in addition to onion at the start of your soup-making process.
This is the where you can use the stalks! Add to stocks in the same way that you would use celery.
Slice the bulb very thinly and add to salads.
You can use the leaves for garnish, although I find their flavour a bit overwhelming.
For recipe inspiration, I found the Huffington Post’s 14 Favourite fennel recipes quite useful. (Not all vegetarian).
The recipe photographed was inspired by this Couscous with Chickpea, Fennel and Citrus recipe. I substituted ingredients with those I had in my home. Namely lentils in place of chickpeas, pimento olive in place of calamata olives and satsuma juice in place of orange juice. It was an interesting dish, but was a little dry and would have benefitted with the addition of some onion marmalade or chutney.