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If you’ve never cooked fennel, don’t worry, you are not alone. I am always prepared, when I buy it at the grocery store, to have the cash register attendant ask me what it is, so they can look up the code… so I know not very many people use this produce.
I grew up eating fennel every summer and I was always looking forward to its sweet smell filling my mother’s kitchen. And now still, I equate it with summer.
You’ve probably had fennel seeds that are commonly used in Italian sausage, though. Like the seeds, the bulb has a subtle anise flavor, and in its raw form a delicious sweet crunch. It is also amazing cooked, but this particular recipe uses raw fennel.
And if this doesn’t make you curious enough, know that it has been used throughout history to cure stomach ailments and freshen breath! It is also high in vitamin C.
Give it a try!
Fennel and orange salad
- Trim and core the fennel and slice very thin (with a mandolin if you have one, otherwise as thin as you can). Place in a large bowl.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the top and bottom of one orange. Using even downward strokes, slice the skin away from the flesh and discard. Remove any remaining white pith. Cut between the membranes to segment the orange. Add to the fennel.
- Press the juice of the other orange (you should have about 1/4 cup) into a small bowl.
- Add salt and pepper and stir with a whisk to dissolve the salt.
- Add olive oil and whisk. Pour over the fennel bowl.
- Add black olives and stir everything gently so as not to break the orange sections.
- Serve immediately or let chill. The fennel will soften a bit if you wait a few hours before eating.