Fennelicious Def

My farm share has had fennel for the past few weeks, and let me tell you that shit SLAPS. Especially if you’re one of those people who likes licorice-adjacent flavors. If you’re unsure what to use fennel for, the answer… is everything.

Pieces of fennel that have been chopped and gathered into a silver pot sitting on a wooden board.
A pot of chopped fennel stalks and fronds, ready to be made into syrup.

You may have seen her in the grocery store: she’s a fat white bulb with beautiful, feathery fronds that cascade all over the place. She’s quite popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking, especially the fruit/seeds. She is one of the main components of a green spirit you may have heard of — does absinthe ring a bell?

My first experience with fennel was as a teeny tiny baby with great big tummy troubles. My mom would make me tea out of fennel seeds to help with digestion and gas.

The fronds have a beautiful anise/licorice flavor. I used them to make infused salt and simple syrup, which I then used to make a citrus, turmeric, and fennel bundt cake! (It was a hit at the farm share potluck – especially with the kid who cut a piece the size of her head and ate it while hiding under the table like a feral beast. Now that’s an icon.

Danielle in thick black frames and two jackets looking off camera biting into a piece of cake.
The only photographic evidence that this cake ever existed.

ANYWAY… fennel stems have a hint of anise, but with more of a celery taste and texture. I used them to make candied bits and salad garnish. The texture of the candied fennel was a bit fibrous (real talk – it was like chewing on dried celery), but when finely chopped and thrown into the cake, all you noticed were sweet little dots of flavor.

The bulbs: very mild anise flavor, more herbaceous and celery-like. Crunchy. Like parnsip’s beautiful and delicate femme girlfriend. I actually roasted them with parsnips and apples and tossed them into a fall salad. Now that was *chef’s kiss*.

A closeup of the salad ingredients mixed together in a silver bowl.
A warm quinoa and brown rice salad with roasted fennel bulbs and a creamy dressing made with fennel and turmeric syrup.

Fennel-infused salt will be available on the website this week. Use with citrus and autumnal fruit flavors like orange, persimmon, or apples. Use as a rub on meats like pork and lamb (who doesn’t love a good holiday roast?), or on the rim of anise-flavored cocktails!

I just so happen to be infusing my own wild version of the liqueur found in every Italian grandpa’s booze cabinet, sambuca. Will craft an amazing cocktail and report back! ✌🏽

A closeup of a dark grey stone bowl containing white sea salt mixed with some black lava salt and fennel fronds.
Coarse sea salt and black lava salt that has been infused with fennel fronds.

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