Fennel was a common staple in Italian- American households. As children we would use the fennel stalks as straws to drink our water or other beverages with. It was fun to see how the drinks flavor would change once it mixed with the licorice flavor of the fennel straw.
Fennel can be eaten raw (very low calorie), steamed, fried, braised. It’s a nice flavor enhancer to most recipes. Its licorice flavor is less intense when cooked.
The fennel leaves or fronds can be used as a garnish or a seasoning.
Fennel and Orange Salad
A medium-large fennel bulb
Small red onion sliced thin(separated into rings)
3 or 4 medium sized oranges- peeled and sliced or segments if you prefer.Salt the oranges and drizzle generously with olive oil. Put aside while you cut the fennel to allow salt to bring the juices out of the oranges.Clean and quarter a medium-to-large bulb of fennel and slice it as thin as possible. Toss it with the oranges and season with some more salt and a bit of ground black pepper. Sprinkle with the onions and garnish with the fennel leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.