Have you ever tried fennel? If yes, than you know how great it tastes. There are so many different ways to prepare fennel. And even more dishes that can be made using this very healthy vegetable.
Fennel is the king of summer menu. Fennel can be cooked, grilled, roasted, baked in the oven, stewed or braised. Or, you can eat it uncooked, because fennel benefits are well known when it comes to low energy and tiredness.
But let me tell you one interesting thing about fennel, before we start exploring ways how to prepare fennel and try some interesting and very tasty fennel recipes. Some believe that fennel is actually magical root vegetable. It gives strength, increases determination and even helps heal the wounds. But it also protects from evil forces. Once upon a time, people believed that fennel was pushing away witches. So, people used to put fennel at the front door at June 21 (it’s the shortest night during the year), hoping that evil would go away.
But, whatever the truth was, fennel has another major benefit – it helps losing weight! Fennel contains essential fatty acid called phenylalanine, which decreases hunger. Raw fennel is rich with magnesium and potassium, and they together act as anti stress therapy if you eat it uncooked.
How and where to buy fennel
Fennel season starts in June, but the main season is during July and August, and ending during September. You can buy it on the market for sure during June, July and August. But, if you want to enjoy its taste any time, you can get it in the supermarket during the whole year.
Choose smaller bulbs, which are completely white and without any blemishes.
Green part should be fresh, without yellow parts.
How to cut fennel
Wash the fennel first. Cut off the green part and save it for later seasoning and garnishing. Cut the fennel bulb in half and remove the outer layer of the bulb, because it contains lots of fibers and can be difficult to eat. If the fennel is very young, you can leave it. Cut out the central core from the bottom and throw it away. The rest of the fennel bulb cut into smaller or larger peaces.
For grilling and cooking, cut into slices.
For baking in the oven cut into quarters or half.
For eating raw and preparing salads cut into thin slices.
Fennel cooking techniques
There are several cooking techniques for preparing fennel. Not every dish requires the same fennel cooking technique.
But the three main fennel cooking techniques are:
- Cooked fennel
- Grilled fennel
- Fennel baked in the oven
How to cook fennel
- Cut the fennel into slices.
- Put them in the water and put everything to boil.
- Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Take the fennel out of the water and place it on the plate.
- Season with salt, olive oil and pepper.
- Leave it aside to cool down.
Be careful not to overcook fennel, as it will become too soft and lose its specific fresh taste. Fennel should be seasoned while still hot, to absorb better the seasons and get better taste.
Cooked fennel can be used as a side dish, finger food, salad or as a risotto ingredient.
How to grill fennel
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Cut the fennel into medium thin slices.
- Brush them with olive oil.
- Place it on the grill and grill for 5 minutes on each side.
- Put it on the plate and sprinkle with salt.
How to bake fennel in the oven
- Preheat the oven to 480F.
- Cut the fennel into half or quarter.
- Put some olive oil in the heatproof bowl.
- Place the fennel into bowl, sprinkle with salt and pour a few drops of olive oil on top of it.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Grilled and baked fennel can be eaten as side or main dish. It goes well when served with lettuce or rocket seasoned with olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
Learn different ways how to prepare fennel
If you are wondering how to prepare fennel and which is the easiest and the best way, the answer is all of them. Two best things about fennel are that it is prepared very quickly. For most of the preparation techniques you don’t need more than 10 or 15 minutes. Baking in the oven takes a little more time, but at the end it really doesn’t require too much effort from your side.
So, what kind of dishes can you prepare with fennel? Almost any dish, but here is the list of most common dishes that contain fennel:
How to prepare fennel:
Cold fennel soup recipe
Fennel soup is very delicious meal and is made of cooked fennel. It can be eaten prior to the main dish or as a separate dish. Soup is usually eaten hot and fennel soup is very tasty when eaten hot. But, it becomes even tastier when you serve it cold, especially during hot summer days.
Try this very simple, yet very delicious fennel soup recipe and enjoy!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
- 2 potatoes, pealed and cut into small squares
- 17 fl oz chicken or vegetable stock
- 7 fl oz cream
- Pinch of salt
- Heat the olive oil in a cooking pan.
- Add fennel and potatoes and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add vegetable stock and cook for another 20 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
- Pour everything in the blender and mix until smooth.
- Continue cooking the soup for another 5 minutes.
- Turn off the heat. Add cream, salt and pepper.
- Put aside to rest and when it cools down a little bit put it in the fridge for couple of hours.
Chop the greens and put it on the top of the soup. Serve cold.
How to prepare fennel:
Marinated mozzarella, asparagus and fennel salad recipe
Fennel is most often used as one of ingredients put in salad. Due to its sweet and unordinary taste, it can be combined either with vegetables and fruits. Fennel salads are made of raw fennel, together with other vegetables which can be eaten raw as well.
If you decide to try fennel salad, you can mix fennel with raw asparagus, zucchini, celery, carrot and so on. You can also add all kinds of cheese for even better taste.
If you are wondering how to prepare fennel as a fruit salad, try melon and watermelon, you will simply love it.
- 1 fennel bulb
- 9oz zucchini
- 4oz asparagus
- 1 fresh mozzarella (around 4,5oz)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- A few leaves of fresh basil
- Salt and pepper
- Parmesan cheese
- Mix olive oil, dried oregano and fresh basil to make marinade.
- Tear mozzarella into small peaces and put into marinade for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime cut fennel, asparagus and zucchini into thin slices.
- Put the vegetables into cold water until they start to curl.
- Take the vegetables out of the water and put it on the dry and clean rub.
- Take the mozzarella out of the marinade and put it on the plate.
- Add fennel, asparagus and zucchini and stir everything.
- Put lemon juice over the salad.
Sprinkle the salad with parmesan cheese and serve with rocket.
How to prepare fennel:
Pasta with fennel and chicken recipe
If you would like to try a little “heavier” dish with fennel, than try risotto or pasta. They go perfectly with fennel, because it gives those dishes sweet and fresh taste at the same time.
If combined with chicken, this meal is complete lunch with all the healthy nutrients you need. Enjoy this tasty fennel and chicken recipe with pasta.
- 10oz chicken breasts
- 1 fennel bulb
- 10oz spaghetti pasta
- Cashew nuts
- Cut the chicken breasts into small squares and marinate into soy sauce and oil for 10 minutes.
- Cook spaghetti following the instructions on the box.
- Cut the fennel into thin slices.
- Heat the oil in the wok or deeper skillet and put the chicken inside.
- Stir-fry for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Take the chicken out and put aside.
- Put the fennel and cashew nuts in the wok and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Take the fennel and nuts out and put it together with chicken.
- Put the cooked pasta in the wok, stir for 1 minute and add fennel, chicken and nuts.
- Put very little soy sauce inside and stir everything until the soy sauce evaporates.
- Take the pasta out and put it on the plate.
Serve hot with red wine.