In Season: Fennel

Whether you're a CSA devotee, a farmers' market weekender or consider ketchup a veg, we'll bring you fresh inspiration for how to prepare our local produce.

This week's harvest: Fennel

fennel.jpg
Jennifer Woods
When you pick up a fennel bulb at the market and give it a good once over, you nose might get tickled by the tall feathery tops. That sweet licorice flavor is what makes fennel distinctive and dividing depending if you're a Good & Plenty person. It's the satisfying crunch that gives fennel a starring role in the salad course and the heft that makes it great for roasting to bring out its sweet soft side. Pick some up this week and cook with us, why don't you...before it's too late.

​When are they in season?
November through June

Selecting, cleaning and storage tips:
Avoid choosing limp fennel bulbs and fronds. When you get them home, store the bulbs and fronds separately in plastic bags in the fridge. Washing them is as easy as running it under water. When you prepare the bulb, you'll want to cut the core out...unless you have a teeny weeny baby one, those will be tender, but by this time in the season you probably will only find large bulbs. Here's a great tutorial: prepping fennel bulbs.

Recipes:

Don't think it's too plain to just slice it raw and eat it as a crudite (like this prociutto roll up) or after a meal as a digestf. It's flavorful and special enough to be eaten in its birthday suit.

fennelrolluptastefood.jpg

http://tastefoodblog.com/

Raw fennel prociutto roll up
​You could slice and add it to any number of simple salads. Here are a few favorites:

Orange and Shaved Fennel Salad
by Phoenix's own Robin Miller of Food TV fame

Orzo Salad with Fennel
Sub roasted carrots for the asparagus, they're already out of season.

orzo-salad1elliecampbell.jpg
Ellie Campbell

Or you could roast the fennel bulb too.

Roasted Fennel & Veg Medley with Quinoa
Your doctor will give you a high five for this one.

fennel-salad-1veggienumnum.jpg
veggienumnum.com

Finally, for all you mixologists, you could use the fronds to make your own digestif to sip after dinner.

fennel290digestifchow.jpg
chow.com

Jennifer Woods is a local food advocate with over 10 years working in the AZ food industry, and currently works for Crooked Sky Farms, a CSA produce farm based in South Phoenix.


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