Fennel was a vegetable I avoided eating for years. The tops look like dill, the stalks like celery and the bulb a cross between leeks, onions or a large head of garlic.
My primary reason for not trying it was because I expected it to taste like celery –one of my least favorite foods.
The flavor is a bit like licorice, but not the sort of licorice flavor that you find in black jelly beans. The furry fronds can be used as garnish or in salads, the stalks in stock or salads and the bulb – numerous different ways.
Slice the bulb thin and eat it raw on a vegetable platter, in salads or on sandwiches. Thicker slices and wedges can be grilled, roasted and saut￩ed.
2 large fennel bulbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 to 10 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the stems of the fennel and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. With the cut side down, slice the bulb vertically into 1/2 inch slices, cutting right through the core. Spread the fennel slices and thyme on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands. Roast the fennel slices for about 40 minutes turning them once after 20 minutes, until the edges are crisp and brown. Remove from the oven and remove thyme stems from the pan. Taste for seasoning and serve.