While I don’t have any eye-popping pictures or ready-to-go recipes for you this week, I have what I hope will be some ideas that sound so good that they just might inspire you.
Fennel is something I didn’t learn to love until recently. But when I did, I went head-over-heels for it. It’s crunchy, and light, and its taste is so unique. Fennel adds a flavor that nothing else can.
When I lived in Southwest Portland, I went to a restaurant once that boasted a delicious home-made hummus with grilled veggies. The hummus was good. It was everything a hummus should be: Creamy, garlicky, lemony, and thick enough that it would scoop easily using any food vessel. What stood out for me most, though, was the grilled fennel that was part of the assorted veggies. It was still crunchy, but the grill had given it an extra depth of flavor. It was delicate and aromatic, and it accompanied the hummus perfectly. They even drizzled a bit of extra virgin olive oil over the veggies, which I loved.
Beyond that eye-opening fennel experience, I’ve also learned to cook with it myself. Sometimes I go simple and slice it thinly to toss with a salad. Other times, I add it into sauteed veggies to put in a baked pasta dish. The flavor of fennel goes fantastically with cauliflower. Also, surprisingly (at least to me), it goes with sweeter flavors like dried fruits.
Don’t let the “licorice” stigma of the fennel flavor keep you away from it as long as I did. Embrace its one-of-a-kind flavor and let fennel inspire you.