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How to Cut Fennel And 5 Great Fennel Recipes To Try

fennel recipes

Wondering How To Cut Fennel Or When To Use It?

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that fennel offers a certain je ne sais quoi to any dish. Whether chopping the bulb to offer a licorice-y crunch to salads or using the delicate fronds as a garnish, this bulb is versatile and packed with flavor. Spring is fennel season. While you can often find the bulb year round, now is the time that its flavors really shine.

Surprising Fennel Facts

We realized though that while we fall on the “love it” end of a fennel pendulum, there’s a lot we don’t know about this versatile vegetable. For example, is it a vegetable? What exactly is the difference between fennel and anise? What can be done with fennel’s beautiful fronds?  And while we’ve gotten creative with our knife skills to prepare it, how is it “supposed” to be chopped? If you also have some of these questions, we got you. See what we’ve discovered below.

Fennel is a Vegetable

And it has some surprising health benefits. Fennel offers vitamin C, potassium and fiber. It also has its own unique combination of phytonutrients, which include anethole, a known cancer fighter, and powerful anti-inflammatory compound.

You Can Eat All Parts Of The Fennel Plant

Wondering what parts of fennel you can eat? Most recipes with fennel call for using its crunchy bulb, which is the flavor superstar of this plant. But fennel’s stalks and feathery fronds can also be eaten and are just as delicious. Because the fronds are delicate, it’s best that they are not cooked. Use them in salads, pesto or as a garnish. The stalks are tougher and great for adding to stocks or cooking alongside fish.

Fennel Versus Anise: How Are They Different?

Yes, they both offer that licorice-y flavor, but they are not the same. All of the fennel plant can be consumed. Its seeds fall in the spice category but fennel is considered a vegetable. This is very different from anise. Anise is an inedible plant with edible seeds making it only a spice. What’s more, fennel seeds and anise seeds are not used in the same way so don’t try and substitute in your fennel recipes. Fennel seeds are typically used to flavor savory foods – sausages, breads, stews, etc. Anise is more commonly found in baked goods and desserts. It also may be used in alcoholic beverages like Sambuca.

How To Cook With Fennel

Fennel is an awkward looking vegetable and trying to figure out how to cut it can be just as cumbersome. Should you cut it lengthwise or crosswise? What to do with those long stems? We consulted the expert to suss out how it could be done. Of course, if you have your own creative cutting method or a specific fennel recipe, please carry on. This is only for those who may find themselves befuddled.

How To Cut Fennel Correctly

Cutting fennel is not as intimidating as you might think. You can follow these easy fennel cutting tips below or if you need a fennel cutting visual, here ya go!

  • Trim off the stocks as close to the bulb as possible
  • Cut the bulb in half lengthwise
  • Cut out the core
  • Slice crosswise or lengthwise depending on preference, or use a mandolin

 

Inspired To Add Fennel To Your Menu? Here Are 5 Of Our Favorite Fennel Recipes

Roasted Fennel with Parmesan from Giada De Laurentiis

This recipe calls for just four ingredients: olive oil, fennel, black pepper and parmesan. It’s super simple and totally tasty.

Fresh Fennel and Lemon Slaw from The Kitchn

Fresh, hearty and delicious. A touch of soy sauce is an unexpected but welcome addition.

Braised Fennel with Pomegranate from Martha Stewart

This cheery side dish is sprinkled with mint, fennel fronds, hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Spring Fennel and Dandelion Green Slaw from Food52

Fennel plays nicely with cilantro, scallions and black mustard seeds in this flavorful slaw.

Apple + Fennel with Pistachio + Apricot from Joy the Baker

This dish is crispy, bright and fresh. We love pairing dried apricots with these unexpected ingredients!