Feeling fennel lately? Us too!
Probably because it's an item that is straight up crushing it in the market right now with fantastic quality and supplies. As your produce experts, we're here to help you satisfy this craving with important info on this veg and some culinary advice from our very own creative corporate chef of Produce Alliance! Enoy. :)
Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.
When prepared correctly, fennel is one of those vegetables that can take your dishes from good to great. When served raw, fennel delivers a super fresh, crunchy, anise flavor to salads, sandwiches, and slaws. I recommend using a mandolin to shave it very thinly, and pairing it with complimentary flavors such as apples, pears, squash, and tomatoes. Try shaved fennel in a classic Waldorf salad for an extra boost of texture and flavor.
Fennel also loves to be roasted and fried. Braised fennel with dry white wine and plenty of garlic is a lovely side dish for roasted meats. Due to its natural high sugar content, fennel becomes caramelized and almost jammy when roasted. And don’t forget about the fennel fronds! These glorious greens can be used on their own as a super elegant garnish, or worked into any dish that celebrates fresh greens. The only real trick to using fennel is to make sure to cut away the tough, woody core, and dispose of any dried out layers before using it.
Braised Fennel with Lemon and Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 fennel bulbs, fronds attached
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken or veggie broth
Grated rind and juice of 1 lemon (Meyer lemons are great here, but if they aren’t in season, regular lemons are great too)
Sliced Parmesan cheese
Trim the fennel and roughly chop 1 tablespoon of the fronds. Halve each bulb through the core, then cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to coat the pan. When hot, cook the fennel, without moving, until browned, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook 1 minute more.
Add the broth, lemon rind and juice and bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Raise the heat to high and reduce the sauce until syrupy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Fold the sauce and reserved fronds into the fennel and top with Parmesan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Shaved Fennel and Cabbage Slaw
1/2 medium red cabbage, sliced (about 4 cups)
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced, preferably on a mandolin
3 green onions, sliced
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Toss the cabbage, carrots, fennel, and green onions in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients to make a dressing for the slaw. Pour the dressing over the veggies and mix well.
Serve on your favorite veggie burger, sandwich, or taco, or alongside your favorite main dish.