Have you ever seen a vegetable that looks like an onion but has tops that resemble dill in your local market? If yes, you may have probably come across a fennel.
This fantastic bulb-like veggie belongs to the carrot family and is cousins with the beloved celery and well-liked parsley.
The shape and visual features might confuse people into thinking it tastes like an onion with an herb finish.
But it’s not even remotely close to what you’re assuming.
We’re here to make matters clear and let you know what does Fennel taste like?
Once you’re done reading, you’ll likely head to your nearest local produce store to finally use this versatile vegetable.
What is Fennel?
Part of the Umbelliferae family, the fennel plant is a resourceful edible that can be consumed raw or cooked.
Every part of the product can be used in some way to create exciting dishes.
But, most cooks prefer to use the bulb for cooking purposes.
It is a perennial plant that grows mainly on the Mediterranean shores.
However, due to its popularity, the vegetable is now grown in almost every part of the world.
They thrive incredibly well on sea coasts and river banks.
The herb is easy to identify with its thick stalks curving together at the bottom to mimic a bulb.
The top of the stems is covered with leaves that resemble ferns or dill.
Fennel is a flowering plant; when it’s time to seed, the herd produces small yellow flowers.
You can use all the parts of the plant, from the stalks to the stems, leaves, and even the flowers, for a multitude of recipes.
What Does Fennel Taste Like?
Usually, we overlook the humble root vegetable while picking up produce from the market.
It’s also not on our list of recipes that we enjoy cooking.
It’s mainly because this sweet delicacy can seem a bit intimidating to cook with.
Nonetheless, the Italians have found ingenious ways to use the plant in their cuisine.
This vegetable’s flavor has often been compared to celery, which is expected since they fall under the same genus.
But what’s surprising is that it has an overwhelming sensation of fruitiness.
It’s often said biting into a fresh fennel bulb is like biting into an apple.
There are also mild notes of licorice or anise, which can be amplified by cooking the vegetable.
The herb has citrus flavors and is similar to cucumbers when eaten raw.
A fun fact about fennel is that it is considered a spice, herb, and vegetable too.
All parts of the plant impart flavors in different ways to dishes.
The stems and stalks are used in stews, soups, and hearty dishes to add sweetness and depth of flavor.
It’s a beautiful addition to salads because of its sharp pungent accents and can make any plain assortment lively.
You can also use its pollen and the flowers as a spice for dishes like the Italians.
If the flowers are allowed to mature, the seeds produced are collected to use in dishes.
The whispy leaves have a milder taste and are used as a garnish.
How to Cook and Serve Fennel?
This low-calorie, highly nutritious veggie can boost your dishes in many ways.
Let’s begin with the most traditional way of using this plant.
If you’ve been cooking Italian cuisine for a while now, you’ll know they love their fennel.
The dish can be as simple as broiling it with cheese or as complicated as cooking it with a roast.
You can’t go wrong with any method of cooking the veggie, especially if you follow the recipe.
Many even use the scrumptious root plant as part of salads and in pasta.
Another great way to utilize the vegetable is adding it to your stews and casseroles.
The plant is an excellent accompaniment for fish or chicken.
If you’re in the mood for something grilled, you can toss them over the fire with some olive oil until tender.
Chopped-up fennel leaves can round out the flavors of soups.
The seeds can be part of any spice rubs used for flavoring an assortment of meats.
Even though it’s a flexible fruit, we suggest you consume it in moderation since the vegetable can be harmful to pregnancies.
There’s always a hesitation surrounding the fennel plant.
It’s not the first thing you would pick up at your grocery store.
There’s a notion that it’s a fussy food to work with, but you can leave aside all doubt.
This vegetable, with all its delightful flavors, will make your dishes sing with flavor.
The next time you enter the store, look for the healthiest bulbs and put them in your favorite stews.
If you’re cooking just for one, that’s okay too because the herb can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.