Recipes for fresh fennel *leaves* (not the bulbs)?
I have three lovely fennel plants in my garden (two bronze, one smokey) and the lacy leaves have a delicate, fresh anise flavor. (I call them "leaves" because I'm not sure what else to call them--they aren't flowers; they're more like very lacy stalks.)
I've found wonderful recipes for fennel bulbs but of course I don't want to dig up one of my plants to cook them!
Does anyone have some suggestions or recipes that would use the leaves instead of the bulbs?
You can use them like you do fresh dill. They're milder and subtler. I often add them at the last minute to sauces for fish, seafood and even potatoes. For example, heat olive oil, lemon juice, snipped fennel fronds and, optionally, capers and green olives until just warmed through, and spoon over roasted, grilled or steamed salmon.
BTW, don't throw away the stalks. Dry them instead. You can throw them on the fire when grilling sea bass or other Mediterranean whole fish or use them as a bed for roasting fish that you finish by flambéeing with a little Pernod. In both cases, they perfume the fish with a delicate anise flavour.
The leaves are called fronds and can be used for garnish for meats and vegetables. Fronds are also lovely in salads. Fennel also marries very well with shellfish. Again, use the fronds and bulbs. You can also save those thin stalks with fronds for stocks. Especially seafood stock.
If you make a dish with the fennel in it-top with fresh chopped fronds.