In 450 B.C., legend has it that Pheidippides ran from Marathon (Greek for “place of fennel”) to Athens to relay the message that the Persians had been defeated. Fennel remains a symbol of strength. All parts of this flavorful herb are good to eat. The bulb is crunchy like celery and has a slight anise-like, or licorice flavor; the seeds (often confused with anise) are used in savory foods; and the delicate leaves are great in salads or tucked behind your ear for luck in your next foot race!
Uses for Fresh Fennel
Fennel is delicious cooked or raw. The bulb is most commonly used (after removing any tough or scarred outer layers), but the stalks can be added to soup stocks, and the fronds can be used like any fresh herb. Raw, try “shaving” the bulb into all types of salads using a mandoline or vegetable peeler, or add shaved fennel to soups or stir-fries. Fennel can be thinly sliced, sautéed and added to pasta or risotto, or cut into wedges, lightly coated in olive oil, and roasted at 400 °F until caramelized.
Prepare: Cut off branches and trim the hard bottom of the bulb—shave, julienne, or chop bulb. Trim fronds and use whole or chop fine.
Storage: Refrigerate in a plastic bag. Will keep for 5–7 days. Wash before use.