I have always loved the flavors of licorice and anise and so it should be no surprise, though the flavors are different, fennel is a particularly appealing vegetable to me and tends to be slightly under utilized in the American kitchen. Fennel, along with coriander, parsley, dill and carrot, is a member of the Umbellifereae family and native to southern Europe where it has been cultivated for medicinal and culinary purposes for thousands of years and continues to be a mainstay of Italian, French and Mediterranean cooking. Along with most vegetables, fennel provides a great amount of nutrition including Vitamin C, phytonutrients and fiber. The bulb, stalk and fronds of fennel, generally sold together, are all delightfully edible and can be eaten together or separately, raw or cooked, depending upon your culinary preference. Caramelized fennel is delicious along side orange pecan kale and feta roast potatoes.
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced into thin wedges
½ c fennel fronds, finely chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss fennel bulbs with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread evenly in a baking dish and place in the oven. Roast fennel until deep golden brown and caramelized, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning and sticking.
2. Remove fennel from oven and toss with chopped fennel fronds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Serves 3-4