In another of our series of seasonal ingredients, food writer Helen Best-Shaw, takes a closer look at fennel and finds 10 wonderful seasonal recipes to introduce you to, or to help you use up a bulb or two.
Fennel can be a divisive vegetable, people tend to either love or hate it due to its strong aniseed taste. I long to love fennel as there are some beautiful recipes that use it. It’s such an attractive ingredient with its white bulbs and elegant green tendrils, but at best I tolerate and on occasion, like it.
My trick with fennel is to lightly blanch it before use, which removes much of the aniseed taste leaving a far more delicate and palatable flavour. Simply slice your fennel thinly, place in a sieve, pour boiling water over the fennel, then plunge it in ice cold water.
When buying fennel choose smaller bulbs that feel heavy for their size that have lush green feathery tendrils which make beautiful garnishes.
Fennel peach & parmesan salad
This salad from Scrummy Lane is the perfect mix of flavours, colours and textures. The sweet soft peach offsets the aniseed and crunch of the fennel. Topped with Parmesan for some sharpness and an umami hit. Swap in any stone fruit and enjoy.
Get the recipe here: Scrummy Lane
Beef pot roast with fennel gravy
It is currently too hot to cook, or at least stand in the kitchen cooking. This one pot with beef from Culinary Hill can be left to cook in the oven whilst you relax with a cooling drink – although it would easily adapt to the slow cooker. Blending fennel, carrots and onions with the juice from the beef makes the gravy.
Get the recipe here: Culinary Hill
Roasted halibut with fennel, oranges & olives
Fennel pairs so well with fish. In this dish from Pinch & Swirl, halibut fillets are baked on a bed of fennel, orange and olives. This lighter supper is ideal for eating al fresco with a glass if cold crisp white wine.
Get the recipe here: Pinch & Swirl
Squash noodles with tomato, basil and fennel
Spiralised vegetables are fantastic for making lighter dishes in the summer, if you do not have a spiralizer then just cut firm vegetables into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. This beautiful bowl from Healthy Nibbles & Bits uses lots of seasonal basil in the sauce and is topped with a bulb of braised fennel.
Get the recipe here: Healthy Nibbles & Bits
Fennel & white bean soup
This is a lovely adaptable and light soup from Lydia’s Flexitarian Kitchen that uses tinned beans and fresh vegetables from your garden, as well as lightly sautéed onion and fennel. Ideal for a cooler summer evening.
Get the recipe here: Lydia's Flexitarian Kitchen
Sicilian fennel and orange salad
This salad made with fennel, orange and olives with an orange dressing from Grab a Plate was inspired by a recipe from new friends made on a visit to Rome. The original Sicilian dish is called a Palermitan salad and would typically be served with anchovies and without the greens.
Get the recipe here: Grab a Plate
Shaved Carrot & Fennel Salad
This lovely simple Japanese style salad from Culinary Ginger contains just thin slivers of both carrot and fennel with a zesty soy, ginger and lime dressing topped with black sesame seeds. Ideal to serve with marinated chicken kebabs at a BBQ.
Get the recipe here: Culinary Ginger
Fennel & olive tagine with grains
This fennel and olive tagine served with mixed grains From the Healthy Heart is a light (but not boring) vegetarian dish, ideal for Meatless Monday. This dish is flavoured with preserved lemon and coriander, but swap in whichever fresh herbs you currently have. Serve with lots of bread or a spoon to mop up the juices!
Get the recipe here: From the Healthy Heart
Fennel, apple and poached chicken salad
In this simple salad from Natural Kitchen Adventures fennel is paired with crunchy apple, moist poached chicken as well as some earthy flavoured walnuts. Variations and substitutions abound—swap in some leftover roasted chicken, some pears, or seeds in place of the nuts.
Get the recipe here: Natural Kitchen Adventures
Fennel orange ice cream
In a clever twist on the classic pairing of fennel and orange, Eat Thrive Glow has made an ice cream with caramelised fennel. I love the idea of a savoury note to ice cream in this scorching weather.
Get the recipe here: Earth Thrive Glow
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