It is curious that I have lived so many years without incorporating into our meals all the wonderful different vegetables that are available. Am I the only one that gets stuck buying and preparing the same foods from childhood? Since making a conscious decision to try different vegetables I am finding some exciting choices and flavors. Fennel is another vegetable added to my repertoire within the past few years.
I absolutely hate licorice and always associate that flavor with those long black candy things from when I was a kid. Anise is also on my ‘hate’ list. That is probably why I had never investigated fennel. However, it was a pleasant surprise to find that the licorice/anise flavor in fennel is not overpowering and I found that I actually like it. The fennel bulb is the best part of the plant but you can also eat the stem and fronds where there seems to be a stronger licorice/anise flavor.
Fennel originated in the Mediterranean area and is used in Italian and Greek cuisine, and eventually made its way to America. My friend has warned me to not plant fennel in my garden as it is a perennial plant and will just take over the garden space and is difficult to get under control. I don’t know if this is true as I have not planted any to find out.
Since my discovery of fennel I have prepared it in a number of ways. I have brushed it with oil and grilled it, shaved it into slivers for a salad with mandarin oranges and red onions, also I have chopped and added it to my lentile soup which is really delicious. I have substituted it for the potatoes in a chicken pot pie to save calories and carbs as well. This fennel recipe is from my Diet Power program and is low-calorie, low-fat, healthy and delicious.
- 2 cups fennel, raw, sliced, about 1 or 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon golden balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- Cut the feathery leaves off of the fennel bulbs and set aside. Cut the fennel lengthwise, remove the core and cut again into sections. Place in a baking dish and pour the chicken broth over it. Distribute the chopped garlic evenly over the fennel and cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
- While the fennel is baking, mix the oil and vinegars with parsley and 2-3 chopped tablespoons of the feathery fronds. Add salt to taste.
- Remove the fennel dish from the oven and drain off the liquid (I reserved it for my soup) sprinkle the dressing/parsley mixture over the fennel, sprinkle the parmesan cheese over it and return it to the oven and bake it uncovered for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, transfer to a serving dish and garnish with some of the reserved fennel fronds.
Amount Per ServingCalories 67 Total Fat 4g Cholesterol 7mg Sodium 270mg Carbohydrates 1g Protein 4g