This bulbous pale green vegetable looks similar to the base of celery, it has a crisp texture and mild sweet aniseed flavour. Enjoy fennel raw or cooked, add the feathery dill-like leaves to salads or use as a garnish. Delicious roasted, pan-fry or braise, fennel works work well a wide range of flavours.
BUYING & STORE FENNEL
Choose plump, pale fennel bulbs with fresh-looking feathery fronds attached. Refrigerate in the crisper section. Use within five days.
Fennel goes with tomatoes, eggplant, olives, citrus, onion, cheese, potatoes, lamb, pork, chicken, seafood, cream, grapes, plums, apples, ham, pears, pasta and gnocchi.
RECIPE - WARM UP WITH FENNEL & BRAISED LAMB SHANKS
Toss 4 trimmed lamb shanks in seasoned flour. Add 2 tbs olive oil in a deep-frying pan. Brown the lamb shanks on all sides and transfer to a plate. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 chopped onion and 2 sliced fennel bulbs to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add 2 x 400g can diced tomatoes, 1 cup beef stock and the lamb shanks. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour.
Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with mashed potatoes.
MORE WAYS TO ENJOY FENNEL
- Add diced fennel to risotto
- Braise fennel in butter and toss with roasted pine nuts and cooked pasta
- Add fennel to a seafood chowder or serve roasted with fish.
- Roast halved fennel bulbs and roast under pork belly
- Slice fennel, sauté until soft add to a frittata or gratin
- Finely shred fennel and toss with apple slices, rocket and toasted walnut.
- Sauté sliced fennel in garlic, toss in prawns and cooked noodles.