Friday, July 18, 2008

Fennel - A First

The recipes and the vegetables are piling up! Baseball and various other things have been keeping me busy, so I'm still falling behind in my posting. I still have a blueberry recipe or two to post, not to mention recipes from earlier this spring! Between the garden and me being a little over zealous in my purchases at the farmer's market last weekend, I'm furiously trying to use everything up so that it won't go bad. And, again, baseball doesn't make that very easy seeing as how we're gone from 3:30-8:30 on game nights.

Last weekend I found fennel at one of the farmer's market stands. I do not like black licorice or the other things of a similar flavor profile like anise or fennel, but I've been warming up to fennel seeds in some of my cooking so I decided it might be time to try fresh fennel. I had no idea how to prepare this vegetable and I had no idea what to put with it so I started an internet search (What the heck did I ever do without the internet for recipes??) hoping to find a recipe for fennel and cucumber since we seem to be getting at least one or two cucumbers out of the garden each day.

Fennel and Cucumber Salad
First I found this recipe that sounded simple and refreshing. But then I realized that I really had no idea how to even cut up a piece of fennel or even what parts to use. Fortunately I found an informative article that told me pretty much all I needed to know. I ended up using mostly just the bulb itself with a bit of the stalks too, tossing the fronds. The fronds didn't appeal to me as a garnish and I didn't think I'd like the flavor of fennel for a soup stock, so in the compost they went. In texture, the bulb of the fennel is a bit like licorice flavored cabbage while the stalks are a bit more like licorice flavored celery.

This simple salad combines cucumber, fennel and radishes along with mint, chives, lemon and EVOO. The flavors play well off each other. The mint and fennel give the dish a sort of sweet angle while the radishes give it a bit of bite and some welcome color. The cucumbers play an understated supporting role. It was very nice and refreshing and while we all liked it and enjoyed the change of pace, I don't know that I'd seek out fennel again. I'm learning to tolerate and appreciate some different flavor profiles these days, but I don't know that fennel will ever be a favorite.

More baseball tonight..........I'm about ready for baseball to be over - we need a little break (and it will be a very little break) before soccer and football start! We're also counting down to the kitchen remodel which will begin in just over a week. ACK!


  1. Sounds delicious and your photo is beautiful.

  2. Thanks so much for this recipe! Todd tried the shaved fennel salad at CraftSteak in Vegas and loved it. I've been wanting to make it ever since, but couldn't find the right recipe. This one sounds perfect.

    Now I just have to get the fennel.

  3. J - Thanks. :)

    Anna - Glad to have helped you find a fennel recipe. :)

  4. My family will definitely like this recipe,I'll try it soon.