Fennel: Yes, It Kind of Tastes Like Licorice
Italians love to give me flak about fennel since they use it a lot in their cooking and we’re just beginning to, so of course they think there’s something wrong with us (besides wearing shorts in the summer and having no history). Some people are understandably not fans of the anise flavor, but with the right flavor combinations, you might be surprised, especially if you’ve never baked it! (um, yum)
Extra bonus: fennel is rich in fiber, folate, vitamin C, and potassium.
Look for white bulbs with minimal brown dings on its surface.
“Male” fennel is rounder and better for eating raw.
“Female” fennel is more slender and better cooked.
If still attached, cut off the tall stalks shooting off the fennel. Cut in half lengthwise and rinse well under water to remove grit between layers. You will see that each cut side has triangle shape at its base. Cut along each side of the triangle toward the base and discard that section. Cut the remaining fennel on a mandolin (not the instrument, people)—slice thinly for salads or go thicker for other uses.