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.
CreMY Fennel & potato soup
8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 lbs Yukon gold potatoes, diced into bite-size pieces
3 Fennel bulbs, chopped and thoroughly rinsed
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 cup heavy cream
In a dutch oven, cook the bacon until crispy. Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Drain grease.
Melt the butter in the dutch oven with the fond from the bacon. Add the chopped leeks and onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
Add potatoes, chicken broth, salt, pepper, thyme and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Remove the thyme sprigs, then transfer 2/3 of the soup to a blender and blend until smooth or use an immersion blender, if you have one, to partially blend the soup, leaving some chunks whole depending on how much of the soup you like pureed. Return to pan and add the cream. Stir to combine and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Serve with the cooked bacon sprinkled over the top for presentation, or just stir it into the soup.
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