what to eat {fennel}

Raw, braised, grilled, sautéed.  This versatile vegetable is a favorite in our house.  Most often we’ll have it raw in salads, but here are two recipes we have enjoyed this winter. 
A relative of parsley, dill and coriander, this white bulb with vibrant, feathery green fronds is fragrantly beautiful.  Because of its mild licorice flavor it is often referred to as anise.  But in ancient Greece fennel was called ‘marathon’ since it grew freely in the fields where the Battle of Marathon was fought.   Drawings and statues depict Pheidippides holding a fennel frond, which was reported to have been given to him after notifying the Greeks about the Spartan invasion.   Who’s Pheidippides? Marathon.  Fennel.  He’s that runner.  Now, I know the story about him returning to Athens, announcing the Battle of Marathon victory and promptly dying is probably a myth, but if anyone hands me fennel at the end of one of my marathons I will FREAK OUT!
Okay, back to the veg.  Fennel has a similar texture to celery, which means it has great crunch and will stand up to sautéing, braising and grilling.  When eaten raw it is bright and refreshing.  However prepared, it has a nice soft sweetness.  Low in calories, fennel’s a great source of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber.  Select a firm, unbruised bulb.  Need to keep it more than a couple of days?  Wrapped in a damp paper towel and placed in the vegetable crisper bin, it should keep about five days.   Enjoy!
tortellini w/Italian sausage . fennel . mushrooms

 

pork . mustard . fennel stew
{recipe courtesy of Freeze Ahead Meals, DK Publishing}
6 tbsp olive oil    .  2 large onions  .   3 fennel bulbs, sliced
2 ½ lbs lean pork, cut into ¾” cubes   .   8 garlic cloves, chopped
2/3 cup dry white wine   .   2 tbsp coarse-grain mustard
1 tsp paprika   .   large handful flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves   .   1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbsp all-purpose flour   .   3 cups milk
Heat oil in a large pot; add onions and fennel cooking 5 mins or until soft.  Add pork and cook 5 mins or until no longer pink.  Add garlic, cooking 1 min then stir in wine and mustard.  Raise heat to a rolling simmer for 3 mins.  Stir in paprika, sage and rosemary; add flour and mix well.  Add a little milk; mix to an even paste then stir in rest of milk. Season w/salt and pepper; cook 5 mins.  Serve over rice or smashed potatoes.
40 mins   .   serves 8
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One Response to what to eat {fennel}

  1. Amy Gavin says:

    You are amazing… absolutely unbelievable. The presentation is so beautiful I wouldn’t want to eat it 🙂

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