Fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet, adding a refreshing contribution to the ever popular Mediterranean cuisine. Most often associated with Italian cooking. Fennel is composed of a white or pale green bulb from which closely superimposed stalks are arranged. The stalks are topped with feathery green leaves near which flowers grow and produce fennel seeds. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander.
Health Benefits of Fennel: The health benefits of fennel include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, and menstrual disorders. It also aids in eye care. Fennel, which has the scientific name Foeniculum vulgare miller, or its essence, is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpaste, desserts, antacids, and in various culinary applications.
Strawberry Arugula Salad with Fennel, Toasted Almonds, and Strawberry Champagne Vinaigrette
For the Dressing:
- 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
- 4 ounces arugula
- 1 cup sliced strawberries
- 1 cup thinly sliced fennel (use a mandoline if you have it)
- 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
- In a food processor, puree dressing ingredients from strawberries through honey. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- In a large bowl, toss arugula, sliced strawberries, sliced fennel, and dressing. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve.
- To toast almonds, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and fragrant. You can also toast in a toaster oven, just keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
- Substitute maple syrup for honey if vegan
Roasted Fennel with Parmesan and Chives
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp dried chives
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 tbsp fresh chives
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375 º F.
- Cut the fronds off the fennel bulbs and then cut each of them in half. (reserve the fronds)
- Slice the halves into 8mm (1/3-inch) slices.
- Pour half of the olive oil over the base of your baking dish.
- Arrange the fennel in a single layer.
- Drizzle with the remaining olive oil.
- Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
- And roast for 35 minutes.
- Check the fennel is fork tender then remove from the oven, sprinkle with the dried chives and grated parmesan.
- Bake for a further 3-5 minutes to just melt the cheese.
- Chop some of the reserved fennel fronds.
- Sprinkle with the fresh chives (and some of the reserved fennel fronds) and serve.
Fennel, Spinach and Goat Cheese Pizza
1 pizza dough (homemade or store-bought)
1/2 cup marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
1-1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 fennel bulb, removed stalks and thinly sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups frozen spinach
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Saute the fennel for 2 minutes on one side. Then flip and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and continue cooking until the fennel is caramelized (about 7-10 minutes).
3. Add the frozen spinach to the pan and cook until the spinach is thawed and cooked.
4. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the pizza and bake in the oven according to the pizza