Fennel is a crunchy green and white vegetable with feathery leaves, that can be eaten both raw and cooked. Fennel seeds, which are the actually the fruit of the fennel, are also available to be used in cooking.
Fennel is a member of the carrot family, but unlike carrots, it grows above ground. With a fresh, aromatic and subtly sweet, aniseed flavour, it can make a delightful addition to salads, sauces, and sides. For example, we've used diced fennel, together with fennel seeds to make our new, fish pie sauce for our salmon & smoked haddock pie.
How to eat fennel
There are really simple ways to eat fennel, such as slicing it very thinly and adding it to a salad. Dressing the fennel salad with olive oil and lemon works perfectly. Alternatively, you can dice fennel and use it in the same way you would onion, in the base of a recipe.
We also love roasted fennel, which can make it turn very sweet. To roast, you'll simply need to chop the fennel into long wedges, and place in the oven at 180°C for 30 minutes or so until golden, caramelised, and soft. We recommend roasting fennel with olive oil, lemon, and seasoning - just be mindful of adding any salt if you'll be serving to little ones. We think roast fennel is a really great and interesting side dish for any dinner, and works particularly well with chicken or fish.
Why do we we love fennel?
Fennel is a good source of vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant in your body. The mineral manganese is also found in fennel, which is important for enzyme activation, metabolism, cellular protection, bone development, blood sugar regulation, and wound healing! Fennel actually contains several minerals vital to bone health, including, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
All in all, you can probably see why we absolutely love, fabulous fennel!