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What to do with fennel fronds?

My favorite recipes only make use of the bulb, though I remember long ago making a soup that used the fronds (wasn't a big hit with my husband). Any other ideas? I hate putting all that greenery in the compost pile.

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  1. Use them as a herb, as you would any anise-like herb. Another idea is to stuff them into a whole fish, which can then be grilled, roasted, etc. Finally, stuff them into a whole chicken.

    1. String the stalks with a thread and needle and hang them to dry. They can then be used as a bed for roasting fish like monkfish. Or toss them on the coals under grilled whole fish like sea bass or striped bass during the final few minutes of cooking (the smoke flavours the flesh).

      The delicate fronds can be used like fresh dill to flavour vinaigrettes and sauces. Here's a simple sauce for salmon (via Pat Wells): In a saucepan, warm equal quantities of extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice along with capers and picholine-style green olives. Spoon over steamed, roasted or grilled salmon. Garnish with fennel fronds.

      1. agree with all of the above -- esp a roasting bed for fish (I've always done that with fresh fennel fronds, along with lots of thin sliced onions)

        Then I drizzle the fish with a fennel infused oil. There's a good recipe in Chez Panisse veg book I think - the following is what I do without looking at the recipe . . .

        To make the oil, faintly warm olive oil with fennel fronds, a cut up lemon, a pinch of chili flakes, and crushed whole garlic cloves. Let it meld together for an hour or so, then strain. Season with salt and pepper, use as a drizzle on the cooked fish as well as on the onion/fennel bed you roast the fish on. Keep the rest in the fridge to use again.

        There's alot of Sicilian soups that use fennel, with chopped fennel as a garnish, to make when your husband isn't having dinner with you...

        1. As others have said, they're great for roasting fish. My favorite is to bake a side of salmon on a bed of fennel fronds with a few slices of lemon on top. Bake/Roast at a lowish temp., 300, until done, but not overdone. Fennel imparts a subtle lovely flavor. Garnish with extra chopped up to really bring it out further.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Aaron

            You can also chop them in big long strands and add them into a court-bouillon for poaching fish. I just bring whole fronds in the house, shake and/or rinse the bugs off, and cut them into branches that will just fit into the fish poacher. Add a bottle of cheap dry white, a few half-squoze lemon halves, some crushed garlic and water enough to cover the fish, then boil it for a while. Strain out the solids if you're finicky and poach your fish in that. Awful damn good.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Great recipe but DON'T use cheap wine. I don't know why people use "cheap" wine in recipes. If it doesn't taste good in the glass it won't taste good in the dish.

              1. re: KetchikanPeg

                You're assuming that $ = Quality. It doesn't. You can have a "cheap" $5 Moscofilero from Greece that tastes great and is great with fish and is cheap!

          2. They make a nice garnish for soups, salads and other dishes. As someone mentioned, they are good in salad dressings and sauces. They are also very good mixed with feta cheese.