fennel

Tender Profile | Fennel

Fennel in the field at Diggers' Mirth Collective Farm in Burlington

Fennel in the field at Diggers' Mirth Collective Farm in Burlington

Fennel

Who Am I?

  • Botanical name/plant family: Foeniculum vulgare

  • Great source of: Vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and manganese

  • Harvest season: I am ready for harvest in early Summer

Important growing practices: It is recommended that leafy greens be bought organic, to limit exposure to pesticides

How to care for me:

If I come with both the leafy parts and the bulb, for storage you will want to separate the stalks from the bulbs and place in plastic bags.

Flavor and Pairings:

I have quite a unique flavor - crunchy and slightly sweet, with hints of anise or licorice, but with a bright fresh taste. I still enhance many different foods - I compliment sausage beautifully and heighten many seafood dishes! Enrich your fennel dish with apples, pomegranate, pears or citrus for lots of flavor and texture!

 

Fun Facts:

  • Fennel is a type of flowering plant that belongs to the carrot family.

  • People of India and Pakistan chew sugar coated fennel seed after eating to aid in digestion and eliminate bad breath.

  • Fennel has antispasmodic properties, which relieves muscle spasms

 

How to Prepare Fennel

Cut off the stems of the fennel where they meet the bulb. Don't compost the stems though! They can be used in stock to add flavor.

  1. If the fronds are attached to the stems, save them too. They can be treated like any other herb, and provide a more intense licorice flavor than the bulbs. (They look very similar to dill, making them a beautiful garnish as well.)

  2. The outside of fennel may be slightly brown, bruised, and/or discolored, but don't let it discourage you from still using your fennel! The outer layer can be pulled away with your hands to reveal inside layers, as you would with cabbage. Another option to prevent waste is to use a vegetable peeler to remove this outer layer, which conserves much more of the fennel and keeps it out of your compost and on your plate.

  3. After peeling your fennel, be sure to cut off the bottom of the bulb for a nice flat base. Now you’re ready to wedge, shave, and slice your fennel!

 

Removing the Core

The core of fennel is entirely edible, though it is a little firmer than the rest of the fennel. The core also will help to hold your fennel together a bit more, so it is entirely up to you whether or not you wish to remove it. When wedging the vegetable for roasting taking out the core will not cause the fennel to fall apart too badly, however if you wish to thinly slice and saute your fennel you will end up with many very thin slices as the layers will separate without the core to hold them together.

  1. In order to core your fennel, first quarter it using the steps below.

  2. Next, simply lay each quarter down flat on your cutting board and while holding your knife at a 45° angle remove the small hard core -  and you’re done!

 

Cutting Your Fennel Into Wedges

Cutting your fennel bulb into wedges is a super quick and easy way to prepare them, and their larger size makes them perfect for techniques like roasting!

  1. To begin, prepare your fennel using the above steps. Then, simply cut your fennel bulb into quarters using a sharp chef’s knife.

  2. Remove the core if you wish, and you are ready to cook!

 

Sliced Fennel

Slicing your fennel makes it a great candidate for sautes, salads, gratins, pizzas, crudite, pickling, and more! It all depends on the size of your slices and whether or not you chose to remove the core.

  1. Using a sharp knife, first slice your fennel into halves and then lay each half cut side down onto your cutting board.

  2. Depending on if you would like smaller rounded slices or longer more straight slices, hold your fennel widthwise or lengthwise, respectively.

  3. Finally, simply slice me as thickly or thinly as you would like!

 

Shaved Fennel

  1. Shaving your fennel will provide much thinner slices and can make it a fresh crunchy addition to many dishes.

  2. Using the same vegetable peeler that you used to remove the outer layers of your fennel, simply shave the rest down until you have reached your desired amount. Any remaining fennel can still be sliced using the directions above or saved for another day.

Meal Plan for Intervale Food Hub Summer 2017 - Week #6

What’s on the Menu:

meal plan

This week at the Intervale Food Hub, we used ingredients from our Locavore package to create a meal plan that’s accessible and easy to follow in your own kitchen! With recipes ranging from chicken wings, to bread pudding, to lots of veggies, our meal plan this week utilizes a huge array of ingredients and techniques all of which are easy to achieve at home. Enjoy!

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Meal #1: Sweet n’ Salty Chicken Wings

Meal #2: Blueberry Bread Pudding

Meal #3: Fresh Chopped Salad with Mustard Dressing  

Meal #4: Roasted Local Carrots and Fennel

 
wings

Meal #1: Sweet n’ Salty Chicken Wings

Meat can seem a little daunting to cook. With long marinating times, slow cooking periods, and long spans of prep work and clean up, oftentimes cooking even something simple (like chicken wings) can seem like a hassle. But these sweet n’ salty chicken wings? Easy peasy lemon squeezy (well, minus the lemon, but you get the idea!). Requiring only about 20 minutes of hands on prep work, these sweet but savory chicken wings can serve as the perfect center-piece of any meal, while still giving you time to prepare other healthy side dishes (like our Fresh Chopped Salad with Mustard Dressing!). With healthy, fresh local ingredients like sweet summer honey and Vermont made chicken wings, this dish is easy, delicious and a perfect addition to your summer meal plan. Enjoy!

Intervale Food Hub Ingredients:

  • 1 Package of Chicken Wings

  • ¼ c of Yogurt

  • 2 Cloves of Garlic

  • ¼ c of Honey

  • ½ a Cucumber

Kitchen Staples:

  • ¼ c of Onion

  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

  • ¼ c of Olive Oil

  • 2 T of Hot Sauce

  • 2 T of Scallion Butter

Instructions:

  1. Mince ¼ c of onion and 2 cloves of garlic.

  2. In a large bowl, combine ¼ c of honey, ¼ c of olive oil, ¼ c of soy sauce, 2 T of hot sauce, and the minced garlic and onions. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  3. Place your chicken wings in the marinade and let sit for approximately a half hour.

  4. Melt 2 T of scallion butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Place in your marinade and your chicken wings and cook until the meat is white on the inside.

  5. Peel and dice ½ of a cucumber into small cubes.

  6. Whisk together your cucumber and your yogurt for a dipping sauce, and serve!

Meal #2: Blueberry Bread Pudding

blueberry

Not gonna lie here, this dish is pretty decadent. With sweet and rich ingredients like fresh summer blueberries, cream top Vermont yogurt, and locally produced honey, the flavor profile in this easy dessert is sweet, fragrant, fresh, and tart - all in one. With that being said, while the cook and prep time does take an over an hour, this blueberry bread pudding is a great way to use extra ingredients lying around the house! While we used fresh, local Red Hen Bakery Ciabatta bread to create this masterpiece of a dessert, bread pudding is also a great way to use up whatever extra bread or even stale bread you might have lying around your pantry. Huh, who knew? With it’s easy to access ingredients, relatively easy preparatory steps, and a sweet summery flavor, what’s not to love about this bread pudding?

*** this recipe is adapated from this blog post from Southern Hospitality 

http://southernhospitalityblog.com/blueberry-bread-pudding/

Intervale Food Hub Ingredients

  • 1 Loaf of Ciabatta Bread

  • 3 Eggs

  • 1 c of Blueberries

  • 3 c of Yogurt

  • ½ c of Honey

Kitchen Staples:

  • 1 c of Whole Milk

  • 1 c of Maple Syrup

  • 1 T of Butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 eggs, 1 c of blueberries, ½ c of honey, 1 c of maple syrup, 3 c of yogurt, and 1 c of whole milk.

  3. Slice the loaf of ciabatta bread into small cubes.

  4. Pour the bread cubes into the large bowl and let soak for 15 minutes.

  5. Butter either a large skillet or a medium-sized baking dish using 1 T of butter.

  6. Pour the bread pudding batter into the baking dish and bake for 50-60 minutes (until you can insert a toothpick in and cleanly remove it).

 

Meal #3: Fresh Chopped Salad with Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

salad

A fresh green chopped salad is inarguably a Vermont summer classic. By living in a state with such amazing local producers and subsequently amazing local produce, it makes it easy to access and enjoy the crispness of fresh, local veggies like red leaf lettuce, cucumbers, garlic, and even fennel! Despite the classic nature of this nutritious and cool veggie based salad, we decided to throw a quick and easy twist into the mix to help spice up your salad eating (and making experience. More specifically speaking, we decided to use a sweet and spicy mustard/honey based dressed to add a nice contrast to this salad’s bitter greens, watery cucumbers, and sweet carrots and fennel. Despite the fact that this salad packs in quite a punch in regards to its healthfulness and deliciousness, this recipe should only take maybe ten minutes to prepare, making it an easy meal or side dish for any type of day!

***If you’ve never entered the world of making your own salad dressing instead of buying it from the store, welcome. Also, a quick reminder that it’s way easier (and healthier) than you think to make your own salad dressings! So if you like this honey-mustard vinaigrette, try and use the oil/vinegar ratios as a template for future salad dressing-making adventures!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intervale Food Hub Ingredients:

  • 2 c of Red Leaf Lettuce
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • ½ c of Fennel Stalks
  • 1 Carrot

Kitchen Staples

  • 1 Mini Onion
  • ¼ c of Champagne Vinegar
  • 2 T of Yellow Mustard
  • 2 T of Honey
  • Salt/Pepper to Taste
  • ¼ c of Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Roughly Chop 2 c of red leaf lettuce, thinly slice 1 cucumber, slice ½ a mini onion into strips, chop ½ c of fennel stalks, and shred 1 carrot.

  2. Mince the other half of the mini onion along with 2 cloves of garlic.

  3. Whisk together ¼ c of champagne vinegar, 2 T of yellow mustard, 2 T of honey, ¼ c of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and the minced onions/garlic from earlier.

  4. Pour the dressing over the chopped greens and toss.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

 

Meal #4: Roasted Local Carrots and Fennel

carrot

Sweet, simple, a little sour, and to the point. That’s what these roasted veggies are. Personally, I’m a huge fan of making and eating roasted veggies with just about everything. Pasta with garlic and oil? Add roasted veggies. Stir Fry? Add roasted veggies. Breakfast? Instead of fried potatoes make roasted one with rosemary. Boom, roasted veggies.

With all that being said, I decided to leave the accompaniment dish to these roasted carrots and fennel subject to your own liking to help show that these roasted veggies are unbelievably versatile (and delicious). Using classic ingredients like carrots, olive oil, garlic, and herbs, the local fennel used in this dish adds an unexpected punch to some clean and simple roasted carrots. If you’ve never tried fennel, it’s always a pleasant surprise when you first do so. Containing a similar, licorice-like sweetness to that of carrots, these two sweet and earthy veggies are both easy to prepare and quick to roast, making this a perfect side dish for your next meal.

 

 

 

 

Intervale Food Hub Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch of Carrots
  • 1 Bulb of Fennel
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic

Kitchen Staples:

  • 1 Mini Onion
  • Salt, Pepper, Rosemary and Thyme to Taste
  • 2 T of Olive Oil
  • 2 T of Champagne Vinegar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Slice carrots into 1-2 in sticks and then into quarters (they’ll cook faster if they’re cut thinner!). Mince 3 cloves of garlic, slice 1 mini onion, and roughly chop 1 bulb of fennel.

  3. Toss the carrots, fennel, onions and garlic in 2 T of champagne vinegar and 2 T of olive oil on a large baking sheet. Use salt, pepper, rosemary, and thyme to taste if desired.

  4. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until tender.