Fennel is a vegetable with a white bulb as its base, and green stalks and fronds atop. Both parts--the white and the green--can be eaten, though the bulb is typically used as a vegetable, while the fronds are used as an herb.
image from www.realsimple.com
Although I've now prepared fennel in many different ways--roasting it with other root vegetables, sauteing it in a stir fry, slicing it up raw for a green salad--by far my favorite way to eat fennel is raw with oranges and a light vinaigrette for a refreshing fennel-orange salad. Something about the way that the licorice-y flavor of the fennel mixes with the sweet acidity of the orange really does it for me.
This salad could be made in a variety of ways, with various additions and dressings, but the recipe below is perhaps the most basic, and delicious!
Fennel Orange Salad
1 fennel bulb, with greens attached
2 small-medium oranges
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar (can substitute lemon or lime juice)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
other optional vegetables: cucumber, chopped broccoli stems (anything crunchy!)
other optional add-ins: slivered almonds, dried cranberries
- Wash fennel carefully, removing any loose layers of the bulb and wash separately. Dry thoroughly (the fronds have a tendency to retain moisture). Slice the bulb in half and then into thin c-shaped pieces. Dice the stems and finely chop the leaves.
- Peel the oranges, separate into sections, and cut each section into small pieces.
- Toss fennel and oranges with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, and any optional add-ins.