Fennel is a bright and crunchy vegetable with a subtle aniseed taste. Every part of the plant can be used from the bulb to the fluffy fronds which can be picked as a garnish for salads.
Raw fennel is a great addition to salads or slaws. Cut the bulb in half, remove the tough base with your knife and then thinly slice each half. For extra crispness, dunk the thinly sliced fennel into ice cold water for two minutes before draining well in a colander. The long stems can also be sliced thin and the fronds reserved for adding to salads.
Soups and Stews
Fennel makes an excellent addition to the base of soups and stews along with the usual onion and celery.
Cooked in salads
Cooked fennel can also be and added cold to summer salads. Simply chop the bulb into rough 1cm dice and add to a hot frying pan with a healthy glug of rapeseed oil and a pinch of salt. Stir for one minute, before adding a splash of water and then covering with a lid. Leave the lid in place on the heat high for 2-3 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the fennel has become tender. Add more water if the pan becomes dry to stop the fennel from catching. Once cooked, remove the fennel from the pan and leave to cool. The idea is to cook the fennel hard and fast to preserve its brightness but without adding any colour from the pan.