The Featured ingredient segment of this site is especially exciting for me. Seasonal, sustainable produce should be supported by communities the world over for a variety of reasons, the most important of which is of course taste!
So with this being the First ever Featured Ingredient and in keeping with the “F Word” theme…The very first featured ingredient is……. (Drum roll please)…… Fabulously Fragrantly flavoursome Fennel!!
This deliciously aromatic plant is available in three main types. There’s bitter and sweet fennel which are both used as herbs and then there’s Florence fennel (or Italian fennel) which is used as a vegetable.
The bitter and sweet herby types have pale, celery-like stems, bright green, feathery foliage and greenish-brown seeds, and a wonderfully strong aniseed flavour that particularly compliment fish.
Italian fennel, also called finocchio, is the version we’re accustomed to eating as a vegetable and has a broad, bulbous base with a more mild aniseed flavour.
When buying Fennel look for…
Small, blemish-free bulbs. Ensure they’re a pale green colour and that they’re firm and tightly packed, which will guarantee a great crispy freshness. Best of all it’s in season as we speak so get down to your local green grocer and tuck in.
How to cook it…
Both the base and stems of Florence fennel can be cooked a myriad of ways – braising, roasting, poaching, steaming and of course boiling. For those who like raw fennel, its best cut thinly using a mandolin as the flavour can be overpowering if left in larger chunks and best teamed up with citrus such as oranges or sweeter grapefruit.
Fennel seeds are great used whole in pickling liquids for little bursts of aniseed. You can also candy them and use to top desserts and even cocktails for that sweet/bitter hit of flavour. I also like to make fennel chips by coating slices of fennel with breadcrumbs and deep frying them.
There are so many flavourful things you can do with fennel, so stay tuned this month for weekly recipes where fennel will take centre stage!
My Fennel Recipes
Fennel / Lazy Lunches
Delicious Dinners / Fennel
Fennel / Lazy Lunches / Recipes