Fennel has a pale bulb and long green stalks. It can grow almost anywhere. All parts of the fennel plant, including the bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds, are edible. They add flavour to other foods.
To prepare fennel, cut the stalks off the bulb at the base where they sprout and slice the bulb vertically. Prepare the fennel leaves, stalks, and bulb in a variety of ways, including:
- using the stalks as a soup base or stock
- sautéing the leaves and stalks with onions for a quick and easy side
- mixing sliced fennel with a variety of your favourite fresh vegetables for a light, crisp salad
Sausage & fennel orecchiette
Marinated fennel and courgette salad with basil
Fennel, leek and garlic confit with lentils
Sausage & fennel orecchiette – BBC Good Food website
- 1 leek, halved and finely sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, halved and finely sliced, fronds reserved
- 250g long-stemmed broccoli, larger stalks finely sliced
- 300g orecchiette or any short pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 sausages
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp tomato purée
- 2 carrots, grated
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
Boil a large pan of salted water, turn the heat down to medium, then add the leek, sliced fennel and broccoli, and simmer for 3 mins until tender. Lift the veg out of the water using a slotted spoon, drain and set aside. Keep the pan of water on the heat, add the orecchiette and cook for around 11 mins, or until tender but still retaining some bite.
Meanwhile, put a large frying pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and squeeze the sausagemeat out of the skins, tearing it into small pieces in the pan using a wooden spoon. Fry for 3-4 mins until golden brown and almost cooked, then add the garlic, fennel seeds and tomato purée, and fry for 30 seconds until aromatic. Add the blanched veg and grated carrot, and cook for another 4 mins. Tip in the tomatoes, bring to the boil, then simmer for around 4 mins until reduced slightly.
Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water, and toss the pasta in the pan with the sausage and tomato sauce, adding a splash of pasta water to loosen. Season and serve with the reserved fennel fronds scattered over the top.
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Marinated fennel and courgette salad with basil – Delicious Magazine website
- 1 large fennel bulb
- 6 baby courgettes or 3 big ones
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 50ml extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt flakes
- Basil leaves
Slice the fennel bulb as finely as you can (set the fronds aside), and spread out in a wide, non-metal dish.
Very finely slice courgettes (set any flowers aside and leave them whole or slice in half carefully if they’re big), then put them in the dish with the fennel.
Squeeze over the juice of both lemons and drizzle over 50ml extra-virgin olive oil. Season with sea salt flakes, then gently toss everything together and leave to marinate for 30-60 minutes.
To serve, transfer the veg to a serving platter (leaving any excess marinade behind), add the courgette flowers, a handful of basil leaves and the fennel fronds (or a few dill sprigs), then drizzle with a little more olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then serve.
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Fennel, Leek and Garlic Confit with Lentils du Puy, Parsley and Dill – From A Pinch of Saffron Website
- 2 medium leeks, white and light greens cut into 2-centimeter-thick rounds
- 1 whole fennel, green fronds kept aside, the rest sliced into 5 mm slices
- 10 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- 10 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 150 grams dried French (Le Puy) lentils, washed (or regular green lentils)
- 100 ml heavy / double cream
- 1 tsp teaspoons Dijon mustard
- Lemon juice from 2 medium lemons (± 5 tbsp)
- 3 tbsp parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsps fresh dill leaves, roughly chopped
- Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Cut the leeks lengthwise down the middle, leaving the stem on at the bottom. This makes it easier to rinse the leeks. Rinse them well and then slice into 2 cm thick rings. Use both white and green part.
Add the leeks, fennel, garlic, thyme and a good grind of pepper and salt to 30-by-20-centimeter baking tray. Mix gently to combine, then pour the oil on top, making sure everything is coated and a bit covered. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and gently mix everything around.
Cover again with foil and return to the oven to bake until completely softened, about 35 minutes more at 200°C.
In the meantime cook the lentils until just tender but not at all mushy, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
When ready, remove the confit leeks and fennel from the oven and transfer 1/2 heaped cup of the cooked leeks and fennel and 4 of the garlic cloves to bowl and set aside for later (we’ll be using this to make the sauce).
Add the cooked lentils to the baking tray, season with salt and a good grind of pepper; mix gently to combine.
Cover again with the foil and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a final 10 minutes.
In the meantime make the sauce: Add the reserved leeks, fennel and garlic to a food processor along with the heavy cream, mustard and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Blitz until smooth, taste and season with pepper and salt to your liking.
Remove the baking tray from the oven and let settle for 5 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs.
Stir the remaining 4 tablespoons lemon juice and the chopped herbs into the lentil and vegetable mixture.
Transfer to a rimmed dish and serve with the leek cream in a bowl alongside.
Serve hot as is or even cold the next day. Great to prepare ahead of time!
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