Ah, fennel. Some can’t get enough of this licorice-scented vegetable, while others loath it. Fennel is one of the specialty items we get from both Crooked Sky Farms and Sleeping Frog Farms in the spring and it can be truly delightful when it’s prepared well.
When you get home with your fennel, tame the unruly fronds by slicing them off where they meet the bulb. Place the fronds in a vase filled with water for a fragrant table decoration, saving them for stock and garnishes, or compost them. By themselves, the bulbs will store in the fridge for at least a few weeks. For those who find fennel’s mild anise flavor off putting, cooking it in Carrot and Fennel Pasta or Caramelized Onion and Fennel Pasta is a great way to mellow out the already-subtle flavor. (Those who like the taste can deglaze the pan with an anise-flavored liqueur like Pernod.) For a fennel-centric dish, try Fennel and Grapefruit Salad or Fennel Soup topped with toasted fennel seed. Things that grow together, go together and fennel is no exception – it pairs beautifully with other spring produce like peas, beets, asparagus, carrots and dill. If all else fails, you can thinly shave it and throw it on a pizza with other yummy toppings! Find these fennel recipes, and many more, at tucsoncsa.org