Fennel is a relatively new food to me. I never bought one, and never cooked with one either. One day I was at the farmer’s market and saw many vendors selling fennel, so I thought that must be fennel season! Not really knowing what I was going to do with it, I took out $2 and bought one.
Fennel tastes like licorice. I’m not a big fan of licorice, but fennel is mild enough that I don’t mind eating, and I thought it would supplement a green salad pretty well, so I cut the bulb in pieces and mixed it in the green salad that I also bought from the farmer’s market, and added nectarine slices. It came out pretty tasty and refreshing.
Nectarine Fennel Green Salad
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 bag mixed greens
- 1 nectarine, cut into slices
- extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Combine fennel, mixed greens and nectarine in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. Add freshly grind sea salt and black pepper for tasting. Mix well and serve.
After I used up the bulb, I was left with a lot of stalks and fronds. What a waste! There must be a great recipe to use the fronds! So I searched the web and found that you can make pesto using the leftover fronds. It really doesn’t taste that much different than the regular pesto sauce.
Fennel Fronds Pesto
- 4 cups fennel fronds
- 1/2 cup toasted walnut
- 1/2 cup olive oil (more or less as needed)
- sea salt to taste
Mix fennel fronds and walnuts in a food processor and blend well while adding olive oil. Add olive oil slowly until you reach the desired consistency. Add sea salt to taste. Add the pesto sauce to pasta like you would with the regular pesto sauce (or pizza, if you prefer).
And how is a meal complete without a refreshing drink?
Lavender Green Tea Limenade
- 3L water
- 4 lavender green tea bags
- 4 limes
Boil water with tea bags for 10 minutes. Add lime juice and let cool. Add enough honey until it reaches your desired sweetness. Refrigerate and drink it cold!
What’s great about these dishes is that they don’t take much time to prepare, and you are not wasting any part of the fennel. Enjoy!
Photos taken by Vean Chen