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Dec 7, 2004 07:31 AM

Fennel stalks and leaves -- any use?

  • p

Are there uses, other than as flavoring, for the celery-like stalks and dill-like leaves growing out of fennel bulbs? The recipes I've seen only use the bulb.

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  1. I've seen recipes that use them as a bed for roasting fish.

    1. There's a classic Provencal macaroni dish with anchovies and whole fennel. It's a Christmas Eve dish.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lucia

        You don't happen to have a recipe for this, do you (or, conversely, the name of the dish so that I can seek it out)?

        1. re: lucia

          Is this the French version of pasta con le sarde? That's a Sicilian dish with sardines and buccatini, but it does have fennel in it.

          If it's something else, please do tell... the suspense is killing me.

        2. I've used them in floral arrangements.

          1. I think they'd be good in a soup stock, esp. seafood one.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Carb Lover

              You can use them in vegetable stocks (or chicken stocks) that are going to go with complementary flavors ... which I, being a fennel lover, would interpret broadly to mean fennel (duh), potato, celery, celeriac, carrot, chicken, seafood, onion, apple, citrus, and so on.

              The fronds are particularly good with fruit and sea food. I toss them liberally with salads incorporating onion, fennel, orange/tangerine/blood orange, green apples, etc.

              If you're feeling adventurous you could treat the stalks like you would celery in a cooked dish ... peel away any fibrous bits, cut into managable lengths (3 inches or so), blanche for a few minutes, then saute/braise until tender (maybe with some onions that you've cooked with a bit of butter until translucent). You could finish by either garnishing with the fronds or tossing them in a gratin, covering with parmesan, and sticking under the broiler until browned. It's a simple celery dish that always pleases ... and a fairly common way of cooking fennel bulbs as well.


            2. I've seen the stalks (sometimes called the 'fingers') pan-roasted and then pureed in a Mexican soup. The fronds (the dill-like leaves) make a nice garnish, but I don't think I've seen them used to flavor anything.