Fennel is a whacky looking vegetable. And an herb. And a spice. Who new one plant could be so many things? Better yet, who knew you could cook this baby up and make a really tasty dish? I, for one, didn’t. One look at this vegetable was enough to scare me off. Heck, I don’t even remember having seen it before.
Anyhoo… It turns out that this is not a vegetable/herb/spice to be avoided. It does take a bit of figuring out–as far as what to eat and what to discard, how to prepare it, and what to serve it with, among others–but if you are up for trying something new, fennel may be just the veggie for you. It’s packed with nutrients and fiber, and its slightly sweet, licorice-esque taste is surely a great compliment to many meals.
The following recipe was my improv-based approach to this vegetable. Yes, I did watch a YouTube video to figure out how to cut it. Yes again, I did scour the internet to understand what was edible and what wasn’t. Yes times three, I did look at recipes to glean some ideas. All things considered, I figured out how to cut it up, which parts I wanted to save, and that I wanted to prepare it with onions. My own idea was to add acidic ingredients to cut the sweetness and, fortunately, it worked like a charm. Without further ado, here’s recipe numero diciannove:
FENNEL ONION SAUTE (makes ~4 servings)
Ingredients: 1 large fennel, 1 large onion, 1/2 lemon, ~4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (optional: olive oil, sea salt)
Preparation: Chop stalks just above the bulb.
(if using all parts, or the leaves or stalks in addition to the bulb, start here) Using kitchen shears, snip usable (non-wilted/damaged) feathery green leaves. Wash/rinse, pat/spin dry, bag, and refrigerate leaves for later use. Remove and discard top ends, small branches, and any remaining leaves from large, usable stalks. Wash, pat dry, bag, and refrigerate stalks for later use (recipe coming soon).
(if using the bulb only, start here) Discard stalks.
Slice bottom-most portion off the bulb and discard. Stand bulb up on cutting board and cut in half. Lay each half down and halve again. Cut out and discard the core (the center- and bottom-most solid portion of the bulb). Chop, wash, and drain excess water from remaining portions. Dice further if desired and add to saute pan.
Remove and discard peel, then quarter the onion. Remove and discard as much unusable/tough top/bottom from the onion as necessary. Chop/dice to desired level and add to saute pan. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and ~4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Saute covered over medium to low flame. Stir periodically until desired doneness is reached
Optional: Add a touch of olive oil and/or sea salt when plated to make the dish more savory!
Here’s the pre- and post-saute pictures: