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Recipes for fennel

Hank Hanover Jul 30, 2010 03:50 PM

I have never eaten fennel. It looks kind of interesting. Anybody have any ideas for fennel.

The most interesting recipe I found was for braised fennel.

It calls for the fennel to be cut in wedges and browned in a skillet with butter. Then some white wine and chicken broth is added. The lid is put on and the fennel is allowed to braise for about 20 minutes. The fennel is removed and the broth is reduced to a sauce. Add butter, parsley and lemon juice to the sauce and pour over fennel and serve.

I would have posted a link but it is a "view for pay" section of Cook' Illustrated so I didn't bother.

Somewhere it said this stuff tasted like Star Anise. Does this stuff really taste like licorice?

  1. c oliver Jul 30, 2010 04:02 PM

    Hank, you might enjoy this thread of alkapal's:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5763...

    I LOVE fennel in all forms - cooked,raw in salads and fennel seed.

    1. tcamp Jul 30, 2010 04:22 PM

      Thanks, that sounds nice. As it happens, there is a fennel bulb languishing in my veggie drawer right now that might enjoy being prepared as you suggest.

      1. paulj Jul 30, 2010 05:13 PM

        The simplest is to slice it thin, and use in a salad. It has a crunch like celery, with a anise/licorice aroma (aroma more than taste). Contrasting colors like orange and olives go well with it, and a light dressing of olive oil and vinegar.

        1. k
          karykat Jul 30, 2010 07:11 PM

          I love fennel bulb. Last week I saw fennel bulb in our farmers market for the first time, and cheaper than the usual going rate. So we will be indulging in this.

          I can't find my usual recipe, but found one that looks like it. It calls for halving or quartering the bulbs, parboiling them and then baking with broth and a bit of cream. They were parboiled for about 5 minutes and then baked for about 20 minutes. Then they are sprinkled with some parmesan and fennel seeds and fronds if desired. My original recipe used parmesan and bread crumbs and I liked that. Really good.

          Another thing I've been looking at is grilling them. The recipes I've seen call for slicing so that a bit of the core stays intact to hold the layers together. Brushed with oil and grilled.

          1. visciole Jul 30, 2010 07:11 PM

            I like to put some fennel into fish stew -- like cioppino, which is one of my easy favorite dishes anyway. It's also good braised as you suggested. I dislike licorice but this stuff tastes far more mild. It has a hint of anise flavor but more subtle.

            1. k
              Krislady Jul 31, 2010 05:45 AM

              I add fennel to sausage risotto - chop it and add it with the onion. Even my husband, a confirmed fennel-hater, likes it like that.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Krislady
                c oliver Jul 31, 2010 07:39 AM

                That sounds fantastic. I've never made sausage risotto. Do you use bulk sausage? I make my own and it has fennel seed in it.

                1. re: c oliver
                  k
                  Krislady Jul 31, 2010 05:36 PM

                  Yes, bulk - we make our sausage, too, and it has fennel seed. The added fennel kind of makes the sausage taste more sausage-y.

                  1. re: Krislady
                    c oliver Jul 31, 2010 06:31 PM

                    Thanks a mil. This thread has put me on a fennel frenzy.

              2. linguafood Jul 31, 2010 06:51 AM

                It's absolutely delicious roasted (like pretty much any veggie I can think of), with just a sprinkling of kosher salt and some olive oil. Gets all brown and caramelized...

                8 Replies
                1. re: linguafood
                  ipsedixit Jul 31, 2010 10:56 AM

                  Bingo! We have a winner.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    c oliver Jul 31, 2010 11:06 AM

                    Maybe cause I've roasted fennel many times, I vote for lexpatti's fennel/bread stuffing. I'm about ready to spend $3 for one bulb just to make it SOON.

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      linguafood Jul 31, 2010 11:11 AM

                      Awesome! What do I get, a year's supply of fennel? Yay.

                      1. re: linguafood
                        c oliver Jul 31, 2010 11:14 AM

                        Ah, to be truly rich :)

                    2. re: linguafood
                      Robin Joy Aug 2, 2010 01:39 AM

                      Variation: 1/4 bulbs vertically through root and par-boil (for about 2 minutes). Drain thoroughly and place cut side up in a gratin dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle liberally with finely grated Parmegano, then roast until lightly browned. Perfect with cold meats.

                      1. re: linguafood
                        c
                        cheesecake17 Aug 2, 2010 08:23 AM

                        I love roasted fennel... one of my favorite quick vegetable dishes.

                        It's also my fennel hating husband's favorite recipe for "roasted onions"

                        1. re: cheesecake17
                          linguafood Aug 2, 2010 08:55 AM

                          They do become so sweet it's hard to distinguish. Which reminds me I once had grilled vidalia onions and thought it might be fennel.

                          Ah, what's a good relationship w/out a little deception.

                          1. re: linguafood
                            c
                            cheesecake17 Aug 2, 2010 12:02 PM

                            a little bit of deception never hurt anyone!
                            I also once put homemade kale chips in a terra chips bag.. he never knew the difference

                      2. l
                        lexpatti Jul 31, 2010 10:42 AM

                        The best stuffing or savory bread pudding EVER - mushroom and fennel bread pudding:
                        http://www.chow.com/recipes/11145-mus...

                        it's a hit at thanksgiving

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: lexpatti
                          c oliver Jul 31, 2010 10:53 AM

                          That sounds amazing and I've just saved it. I see you fixed some as cupcakes. How did you serve those? Would that just be like muffins?

                          1. re: c oliver
                            l
                            lexpatti Jul 31, 2010 11:18 AM

                            Yes, I served them as cupcakes along side turkey, potato, gravy, etc.

                            1. re: lexpatti
                              c oliver Jul 31, 2010 11:24 AM

                              Let's face it. As a CH, I read ALOT (too much) about food, but that one has my salivary glands doing a little dance :) Thanks again.

                              1. re: c oliver
                                l
                                lexpatti Jul 31, 2010 02:39 PM

                                I've been meaning to perfect this perfect recipe (ya, bad habit of mine) but I wanted nuts in the next one. but no joke, it's fantastic and could eat an entire dish of it.

                                1. re: lexpatti
                                  c oliver Jul 31, 2010 02:42 PM

                                  Maybe pinenuts? I think they go well with fennel. Hell, I think everything goes well with fennel. I now travel with fennel seed )

                        2. c oliver Jul 31, 2010 11:09 AM

                          http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/shaved...

                          This is from Batali's Molto Italiano. I've made it several times and substitute several fruits but the fennel remains constant.

                          As an aside, fennel is one of those foods that, IMO, really benefits from shaving on a mandoline when serving raw.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: c oliver
                            linguafood Jul 31, 2010 11:13 AM

                            Uh-oh. I think I just lost first place... sounds delish. I've always wanted to make a fennel & citrus salad. Unfortunately, my man is not too crazy about fennel and will only eat it when roasted. More salad for meeeeeeeeeeee :-D

                            1. re: c oliver
                              Caitlin McGrath Aug 2, 2010 12:33 PM

                              I have found that using my food processor's thin slicing blade works well for shaving fennel thin for salads, as an alternative to the mandoline (or if you don't have one). It's very quick, too!

                            2. coll Jul 31, 2010 02:49 PM

                              I'm growing some this year because my garden place had it (also cardoon, lots of fun). Mine is small and delicate, although coming along nicely, and I've been chopping it into curried egg and chicken salad and enjoying much more than celery. Anyway, I always use it in place of celery when I want a "secret" ingredient. It has a mild licorice flavor that won't be noticed by most, very refreshing.

                              1. h
                                Harters Jul 31, 2010 03:54 PM

                                We either braise it much as the OP describes or have it raw in salad (where the aniseed flavour is more pronounced).

                                FWIW, I'm also a fan of leaf fennel - the fronds go particularly well with offal dishes, as well as fish.

                                1. Hank Hanover Jul 31, 2010 06:34 PM

                                  Someone mentioned the cost so while I was at the store I priced checked a bulb of fennel. It was in excess of $4.00 each and a bulb with fronds weighed .8 lbs. I suspect the fronds were at least a 1/3 of a pound. That left a 1/2 pound bulb for a little more than $6.00 per pound!

                                  I just bought an Angus T-Bone the other day for $5.99/lb.

                                  Sorry, I am no longer curious to try fennel. When it gets down to $1.00 per pound like a vegetable and not a premium piece of meat, contact me.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Hank Hanover
                                    c oliver Jul 31, 2010 06:40 PM

                                    You're never going to find fennel for $1/# but you can find it for maybe $2/#. Sometimes two groceries across the street from each other will have wildly divergent prices. I truly think it's one of the best "splurge" vegetables. And, IMO, it's always predictably good. What I mean is that I can spend too much money for asparagus andit will suck. Not so with fennel. I insist that you try it :)

                                    1. re: c oliver
                                      Hank Hanover Jul 31, 2010 06:47 PM

                                      Oh, I will find it on a great sale someday and will consider it a sign to get some. In the mean time, the word splurge and vegetable won't belong in the same sentence. The word splurge, somehow, belongs with words like porterhouse, tenderloin and french pastry.

                                      1. re: Hank Hanover
                                        coll Aug 1, 2010 08:18 AM

                                        Here in NY it is always on sale at Thanksgiving/Christmas, as it is served after dinner as a digestive. Used to be not available other times of the year, although now it is which is nice.

                                        1. re: Hank Hanover
                                          c oliver Aug 1, 2010 08:29 AM

                                          At least buy some fennel seed. And not in those glass jars in the grocery. I get mine at a natural foods store and buy a few tablespoons at a time. I use it in just SO many things but here is one of my all-time fave recipes (thanks for the millionth time to Will Owen and the LA Times) where fennel is only one of the flavors.

                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5826...

                                          1. re: c oliver
                                            Hank Hanover Aug 1, 2010 11:44 AM

                                            What does this step accomplish? "Place a rack in the bottom of the pan, add the meat, fat side up, and roast uncovered for 30 minutes."

                                            You have already seared it during the previous step. Eventually you are supposed to turn the heat down to 250 and braise it for 8-10 hrs until the meat is falling apart.

                                            Second question. You are making a rub of sorts. You are rubbing it onto the roast and into the slits you have made. This rub consists of garlic, fennel seeds, salt, pepper and "5 to 6 crumbled small dried red chilies, incl. seeds". Does the flavor of the fennel seeds stand up to the garlic and the red chilies with seeds?

                                            Third question. After braising it 8-10 hours, this is usually the point where I take 2 forks and shred the meat to make pulled pork sandwiches. It seems somehow strange to serve it on a platter. Do you really need to cook it so long?

                                            1. re: Hank Hanover
                                              c oliver Aug 1, 2010 04:39 PM

                                              - it continues the active browning and gets the liquid very, very hot
                                              - the fennel definitely "stands up" to the other flavors. One CH actually said her husband, who doesnlt particular love fennel, thought it had too much flavor.
                                              - this is a roast, not an ingredient for a sandwich. I cut it in probably inch thick slices (chunks really) and serve on a platter. I love it with creamy risotto.
                                              - as Will Owen (one of my CH heroes says) that recipe is for a much larger roast. The internal temp is the key.

                                              In my house, this is dinner party fare with many oohs and ahhs, not a barbeque dish. It may just not suit you. No problem; more for me :)

                                    2. r
                                      rainey Aug 1, 2010 05:14 PM

                                      This is exactly the time of year to enjoy it shaved thin in a panzanella with fresh tomatoes and stale crusty bread.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: rainey
                                        Hank Hanover Aug 1, 2010 06:43 PM

                                        Yeah... looks around. I ..I just love stale bread, doesn't everybody? I particularly like the blue spots. :-D

                                        1. re: rainey
                                          Hank Hanover Aug 1, 2010 06:49 PM

                                          Ahh.. I just looked up what a panzanella is, an italian bread salad. I can see why you would use dry, slightly stale bread. For a more extensive definition here is a link. http://www.epicurious.com/tools/foodd...

                                          By the way, every time I want to look up a culinary term I google "culinary definition" and then the term. I usually get directed to a dictionary of some kind.. often it is epicurious's

                                          1. re: Hank Hanover
                                            r
                                            rainey Aug 1, 2010 11:37 PM

                                            Interestingly, good authentic bread dries out and stales rather than molds. It's all the preservatives that keep commercial bread "soft" that enable the molds to grow.

                                            Panzanella is really worth discovering. It's the kind of delicious that make peasant foods so satisfying and memorable. And I make mine with stale bread that can absorb and marry all the flavors of the tomato juices, herbs, veggies and vinaigrette.

                                            1. re: rainey
                                              l
                                              lexpatti Aug 2, 2010 04:15 PM

                                              so so true rainey, I'm always amazed at how simple a panzanella is but sooooo delish. I love mine with lemon juice (not vinegar) and I love celery instead of cukes, lots of cilantro, stale bread and of course a great parm (shaved), toms of course and olive oil.

                                          2. re: rainey
                                            l
                                            lexpatti Aug 2, 2010 04:11 PM

                                            Oh my, I love a panzanella salad and shaved fennel sounds fantastic, my next one will have it thank you.

                                          3. l
                                            laurendlewis Aug 2, 2010 01:05 PM

                                            Don't shy away from this because it is a Better Homes & Gardens recipe...
                                            Fennel + blue cheese + bacon = delicious!

                                            http://www.bhg.com/recipe/appetizers-...

                                            1. cassoulady Aug 2, 2010 01:28 PM

                                              shaved fennel and grapefruit/orange salad is a favorite of mine. It is light and refreshing and I find it especially good with a rich meal.

                                              1. rcallner Aug 2, 2010 01:28 PM

                                                Just made this crisp delicious salad last night. The reviewer variations are good ideas - I agree with leaving out the cheese, and make sure it's served cold! http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                1. Hank Hanover Jan 18, 2013 02:51 PM

                                                  As a follow up... I have, indeed, tried fennel. It was alright. I mean... it's a vegetable. It's not the best thing I have ever eaten but it wasn't bad. The anise flavor is pretty subtle. If it is cheap enough, it deserves to go into the veggie rotation.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                    coll Jan 19, 2013 07:01 AM

                                                    I have started putting it in minestrone and don't think I can go back to celery.

                                                    1. re: coll
                                                      Hank Hanover Jan 19, 2013 07:38 AM

                                                      Perhaps the huge cost difference may serve as an incentive.

                                                      1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                        coll Jan 19, 2013 07:54 AM

                                                        For me, or you? I'll just use less if I have to.

                                                        You made me look up the price a week or so ago, it's $1.99 a head here. So next time I'll get the biggest one, and have some raw on the side.

                                                        1. re: coll
                                                          Hank Hanover Jan 19, 2013 08:19 AM

                                                          $1.99 isn't a bad price for fennel. A lot better than $3 -$4 per pound I have seen at times.

                                                          1. re: Hank Hanover
                                                            coll Jan 19, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                            I'm sure if I went to the regular chain supermarkets it would be double the price, if they even had it. But my ethnic grocery always has it at a price comparable to celery.

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