25 Truly Fabulous Fennel Recipes
Often likened in taste to licorice, fennel is in fact far more subtle with a texture similar to celery, and, unlike licorice, the flavor is savory, not sweet. Raw, fennel is cool and crunchy. Cooked, fennel turns mellow and the flesh softens; it is wonderful alongside fish or chicken or tossed with pasta.
In Season: Fennel season lasts from mid-fall to early spring.
What to Look For: Fennel is easily identifiable: It has a fat white bulb (like an onion) and a feathery top of green stalks and fluffy fronds (though some grocers cut these parts off). Choose firm, greenish-white fennel bulbs with no soft or brown spots. If the fronds are still attached to the bulb, they should be bright green with no signs of wilting.
How to Store: Wrapped in a paper bag and refrigerated, fennel can last three to five days. But, as bulbs tend to dry out over time, it's best to use them as soon as possible.
How to Trim and Core: Whether served raw or cooked, fennel bulbs must be trimmed first. Cut the stalks from the top of the bulb, then remove any tough outer layers. Some recipes call for the removal of the triangular core. This can easily be done with a paring knife. Fennel trimmings don't have to be thrown away. Sprinkled fronds are regularly used as a garnish for soups, stews, and pastas. The stalks add flavor to stocks or roasted poultry or fish (stuff them into the cavity).
Sliced Fennel with Parmesan
Raw fennel wedges make a sophisticated finger food when topped with hunks of good-quality Parmigiano-Reggiano and finished with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Braised Fennel with Pomegranate
We love the contrast of textures and flavors in this sensational side dish. Fennel is simmered in a bath of orange and pomegranate juices, garlic, and chicken broth until silky, then served with fresh mint, fennel fronds, toasted hazelnuts, and pomegranate seeds.
Clam Pan Roast with Sausage and Fennel
This flavorful dinner-party dish combines sweet Italian sausage, kielbasa, red potatoes, fennel, and littleneck clams. Serve with slices of crusty bread so that your guests can mop up every last drop of the delectable sauce made from Pernod, clam juice, tomatoes, and tarragon.
Labneh Dip with Caramelized Onions and Fennel
Don't let onions have all the caramelized fun! Fennel lends depth of flavor, as does the addition of fresh thyme, dry sherry, and Worcestershire sauce. Serve over garlic-spiked labneh for a truly unforgettable dip.
Crisp Grilled Salmon with Fennel-Olive Relish
Wild salmon doesn't need much to impress -- just this simple, lively relish made with fennel, green olives, red onion, fresh parsley, lemon juice, and chile de arbol.
Shaved Fennel, Zucchini, and Celery Salad
Very thinly sliced celery, fennel, and zucchini are tossed with butter beans and a simple white-wine vinaigrette, then chilled for an hour to allow the flavors to develop in this fuss-free salad. Stir in toasted almonds just before serving.
Caramelized Fennel, Celery, and Sardine Pasta
Fennel and celery are cooked until tender and golden, then tossed with whole-wheat pasta, lemon zest, and canned sardines in this light dinner. It's ready in just 25 minutes!
Roast Pork with Fennel, Chiles, and Olives
Fennel wedges, Italian cherry peppers, and olives are given a quick turn in the oven before being served alongside juicy pork loin encrusted with a fennel, coriander, and black peppercorn rub.
Farro Salad with Fennel, Golden Raisins, and Radicchio
Crisp fennel complements the chewy, nutty farro in this salad. Radicchio, fresh mint, and lemon juice make the dish bright and refreshing.
Rigatoni with Sausage and Fennel
This pasta dish strikes the perfect balance between hearty and healthy thanks to the combo of Italian sausage and a bevy of vegetables -- fennel, carrots, and arugula. Lemon and Parmesan tie all the flavors together.
Broiled Striped Bass With Tomatoes and Fennel
Meaty striped bass joins fennel, cherry tomatoes, and Kalamata olives under the broiler in this 30-minute sheet-pan supper.
Shaved Radish, Fennel, and Parmesan Salad
The mild licorice scent of fresh fennel is a lovely match for spicy radishes and nutty Parmesan. The salad is tossed with a lemony mustard-vinaigrette and garnished with fennel fronds.
Seared Scallops with Shaved Fennel, Cucumber, and Grapefruit
Simply dress fennel, cucumber, grapefruit, and fresh chives and tarragon with a litte olive oil and lemon juice to make a spectacular topping for tender, caramelized scallops.
Fennel-and-Endive Salad with Pomegranate Seeds and Walnuts
Thinly sliced fennel is teamed with crisp red and yellow Belgian endive, buttery toasted walnuts, and sweet-tart pomegranate seeds in this stunning winter salad.
Baked Trout with Broccoli, Apple, and Fennel Slaw
Tahini, lemon zest and juice, and applesauce make an intriguing dressing for this sweet and savory slaw that's served atop flaky trout.
Grapefruit and Grilled Fennel Salad
A drizzle of olive oil and grapefruit juice is the only adornment needed on this arugula salad topped with grapefruit segments, green olives, shaved Parmesan, and flame-kissed prosciutto and fennel.
Roast Chicken with Lemons and Fennel
Lemon halves and fennel wedges are scattered around a whole chicken to let their flavors mingle as they roast. You can also toss in some sliced root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots, and turnips if you like.
Fennel and Smoked Salmon Salad
Thinly sliced fennel dressed with fresh lemon juice and juice offsets buttery smoked salmon perfectly in this elegant salad. You can also swap out the fennel for cucumber or celery, or try using all three -- you can't go wrong!
Fontina, Fennel, and Onion Pizza
A mixture of caramelized fennel and onions is spread onto homemade dough and topped with fontina cheese and rosemary-garlic olive oil in this party-ready pizza recipe. It can be cooked on the grill or in the oven on a pizza stone.
Roasted Fennel and Artichoke Hearts
Fresh fennel and canned artichokes make a surprisingly delicious pairing when roasted together at a high heat. Finish with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, and fennel fronds.
Brown-Rice Cakes with Sauteed Fennel, Broccoli Rabe, and Ricotta
Garlicky sauteed fennel and broccoli rabe are the perfect partners for pan-fried brown-rice cakes in this quick vegetarian dinner. Creamy ricotta and fresh basil round out the dish.
Orange, Fennel, and Olive Salad with Red Pepper Flakes
Sliced fennel, orange segments, and Nicoise olives are tossed in a spicy lemon dressing. Serve this robustly flavored salad with roasted lamb or salmon.
Baked Chicken with Fennel and Apples
Chicken, shallots, and wedges of fennel and apple are seasoned with sage and cider vinegar. Everything roasts together in one pan to make this easy and flavorful dinner.
Braised Fennel and Potatoes
All you need are chicken broth, lemon wedges, and half an hour to turn fennel and potatoes into a flavor-packed side dish.
Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Thyme
Halved fennel bulbs are parboiled, topped with butter, Parmesan, and thyme, and baked until tender and golden brown. Serve the fennel with baked eggs and grilled country bread for brunch, or with roasted chicken, pork, or salmon for dinner.