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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.

              1. k
                k. gerstneberger

                As stated, stalks and tops in a fish stock, stalks and tops stuffed in a whole fish or poultry, tops chopped and mortared into a green sauce or mayonaise. The real rare stuff is fennel pollen. Incredibly intense anise flavor and expensive if you don't live in a part of the country where you can harvest your own. Imagine line cooks and other foragers tapping (dust collecting) on fennel plants in wine country and selling it to "super chefs" back East at top dollar.

                1. I got a great recipe from Sophia Loren (not personally, unfortunately) she calls it Pollo alla Porchetta (Chicken Roasted as Pork), it's the only way I cook whole chicken anymore.

                  Basically stuff a whole chicken with minced ham, minced giblets if you want, minced rosemary and fennel fronds, minced garlic mixed with olive oil and salt & pepper. Put the chicken in a pan (brush with oil) and surround with cut up fennel and whole garlic cloves, with more oil. Bake as usual for an unusually good roast.

                  1. Potato salad. I frequently make it with sliced hot boiled potatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, fennel fronds cut up, and salt.

                    1. I'v read somewhere that the fronds, finely minced, can be used as a substitute for fennel seeds. I haven't tried this, though, and I imagine you'd need a lot of minced frond to equal the strength of the flavour of fennel seeds.