Fennel

Earlier today, I was asking myself why I publish recipes for less than common vegetables. I realized that I got into CSAs and farmers markets at first because the produce was soooo good, way better than what I was used to. After a while, I realized that I was eating a lot more fruits and vegetables but spending less on them than I would a the grocery store. Now, this isn’t true for every farmers market, but it is for a lot of them. And a big part of eating this way is that what you have available is only what is in season, which often forces farmers to expand their repertoire beyond broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes and lettuce, into other types that aren’t usually available at the supermarket.

One such vegetable that I’ve discovered through the my CSA is fennel. At first, I put it solidly in the weird boy category, but now I’ve got a few ways to prepare it in my repertoire, and they never let me down. My favorite is roasted, which isn’t surprising: it’s hard to go wrong with olive oil and garlic. Regardless it’s delicious, good for you, and highly affordable from your friendly local farmer.

Roasted Fennel

  • 1 ½ lbs fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (reserve the fronds)
  • 2-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine all ingredients, and toss to coat. Spread on foil lined cookie sheet or 9 x 13 casserole.  Cook for 20 to 40 minutes, until fennel is fork tender. Serves 4. This is also delicious with 1/2 cup parmesan sprinkled over the top before putting in the oven.

Fennel and Orange Salad

  • 1 ½ lbs fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
  • 1 large orange, peeled, separated and membranes removed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients. Serves 4.

Fennel Pesto

  • 1 bunch fennel fronds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ to ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup shredded good parmesan
  • salt to taste

Put fennel fronds and garlic in a food processor. While it’s running, slowly pour in olive oil until desired texture is reached. Fold in cheese, and add salt to taste. Toss with pasta, dip bread in it, etc. I’ve even put it on a pizza, topped with more parmesan and slices of tomatoes.

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