It’s easy to cut fennel, and since the entire plant can be eaten you won’t have to waste a single bit!
Of all the root vegetables, fennel is one that cooks might not know much about until they actually smell or taste it. The aroma and taste is unmistakably similar to anise or black licorice and it adds a punch of flavor to so many recipes (it’s a favorite pizza topping for us)!
What is Fennel?
Fennel bulbs come from the carrot family of plants (who knew?!). It can be eaten cooked or raw and all parts of it can be eaten.
- The bulb is the bottom part that is big and round. It has a core inside that can be cut out and discarded.
- The long green stalks look a bit like skinny celery and cal also be eaten or chopped up and added to stirfries or soup.
- The feathery parts on the top of fennel are called fronds and look like dill. They are edible too, add them to salads or use them to garnish fennel dishes.
Best Way to Cut Fennel
- First, cut the bulb away from the stalks. Save the stalks for broth. The fronds can be added to a salad or to tossed with sautéed vegetables.
- Place the bulb upright on a cutting board and cut it in half vertically. Cut once more into quarters.
- You’ll see a thick white core in the middle, use the knife to cut that away.
- Slice the bulb lengthwise or crosswise depending on the recipe you’ll be using it in. Long, thin julienne slices are great for cold salads and to garnish soups. Slices (thick or thin) are great for scalloped dishes or pizza!
How to Use Fennel
The fronds on the fennel plant are delicate and feathery, which makes them great in salad recipes or as a garnish on meat and fish entrees. The stalk and fronds can be used in salads or as a garnish. The bulb itself can be sliced and grilled, roasted, broiled, or braised.
Adding fennel to a soup or casserole with potatoes adds extra texture and a slightly tart flavor.
PRO TIP: For a restaurant-quality presentation, keep the entire fennel bulb whole and cut it in half vertically. Brush olive oil over the cut side of the bulb and place it on a hot grill until it begins to caramelize and grill marks appear. The entire plant can be sliced up and served on a platter with a balsamic pork loin, or our perfect ribeye steaks. Or try it alongside a rotisserie chicken.
How to Store Fennel
- Store fennel bulbs in the crisper of your refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel and they should keep about 7 days.
- Whole fennel with the attached stalks can be kept in a brown bag on the countertop for about 2 to 3 days.
- Freeze stalks and fronds for future soups and stews, or freeze chopped up fronds in ice cube trays with olive oil to add to quick sauté recipes.
How to Cut Fennel
- 4 bulbs fennel
Chop fronds and stalks off of the bulb.
Cut the bulb into quarters. Cut out the core and discard.
Slice fennel according to your recipe or enjoy raw in salads.