Tis' the season for fennel, or anise as some refer to it. While it looks like a bulbous celery, fennel is really a member of the carrot family. It has a sweet, mild anise flavor, a crunch like celery; and can be eaten raw or in cooked dishes. I love it!
On my recent field trip to Old Homestead Farm I saw it growing in their fields, wispy, delicate fronds of fennel as far as the eye could see. But the real prize here is the fennel bulb.
Today I want to share a few fennel recipes with you. When fennel is as abundant as it is this time of year, I like to pickle it using Marissa McClellam's Quick Pickled Fennel with Orange , although I do admit to altering the recipe. Marissa does not add any sweetener in her recipe, and the final result is a pretty strong hit of vinegar. I add 1/4 cup of local honey (love the dark honey we're seeing at the market these days - a much stronger flavor!) to the vinegar. The honey really brings out the sweetness in the fennel and the orange, it's is a beautiful balance. This would be amazing on a tuna sandwich or grilled cheese sandwich!
Nicole Riegl from RieglPalate just shared one of her favorite fennel recipes with me and it looks amazing, French Lentils with Sausage and Fennel. Talk about comfort cooking - this recipe will warm your soul! For her sausage, Nicole used the lamb and garlic sausage from Canter Hill Farm, a perfect pairing if you ask me! Nicole is an avid farmers market shopper and features many market recipes on her blog - you can subscribe to her blog to stay up to date with Nicole and all of her culinary creations.
And, not to be outdone, Juliana, Downingtown Farmers Market manager, just made a scrumptious fennel dish in the slow cooker, Rustic Kale, Fennel and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce. This is perfect comfort food, and good for you too!