Ode to Fennel

by Laura FrerichsTastemaker in Residence - musings and recipes by Katharine Plowman


This week's Loon musings come from one of our team members, Katharine Plowman, who also moonlights as a forager and preserver extraordinaire. 

The first fennel is ready for harvest this week and is looking glorious.

Perhaps you aren't one to munch like myself on raw fennel for a snack. More than likely it ends up in the abandoned corner of the old refrigerator next to some wizened apples and the expired jar of prepared horseradish. Not to worry folks! I'm here to shed some light on this spectacular vegetable so that does NOT happen! What do you do with it? Here's your chance to find out! 
Sweet, crunchy with a hint of anise taste fennel is delectable thinly sliced and tossed in to a salad. A drizzle of balsamic and citrus dressing and a handful of fresh herbs. Stellar! Throw it in sliced or chopped in any vegetable sauté with 5-10 minutes left and it provides a lovely textural accompaniment with zucchini, broccoli and legumes—it will have a little less crunch but even sweeter flavor than it would in the raw fennel state. Want to really make fennel shine braise it in the oven. I know braising in the oven is probably the last thing you'd want on a hot summer's day but save this recipe for fall. Totally worth it. And don't forget you can use the fronds as you would any herb and it's great tossed in stocks!

Shaved Fennel Salad