what to do with 2 fennel bulbs?

[12 Oct 2007 | By | 12 Comments]

fennel bulb

I am in heaven. I love fennel. In fact, I wish I had the wherewithal to eat fennel bulbs like apples; perhaps a 2008 New Year resolution?

Instead of eating them raw in my paws, I am finding creative ways to insert them into lunches… dinners… even breakfast.

This post is about ‘what to do when you have 2 fennel bulbs’ because there have been times when I had 2… and they went to waste based solely on my lack of inspiration. Fennel be saved: I now have some quick defaults for fennel: a bonafide back door to inspiration. All you need are

2 fennel bulbs, a few Tablespoons (or ‘gluggs’ of olive oil—that is how my kids and I measure olive oil amounts: “mom, how many gluggs of olive oil?”), and a large pinch of kosher/coarse salt. The last time I roasted fennel, I added a few Tablespoons of diced prosciutto. What? I couldn’t help it:

roasted fennel

Roasted Fennel
2 fennel bulbs (stalks and stems removed)
3 T olive oil
1 large pinch kosher salt
optional: a couple grinds coarse pepper

Heat oven to 400. Slice fennel into 1/4-1/2 inch slices. Lube with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 25-30 minutes.

Now, if you are getting a tad more creative, and plan ahead with a slightly longer list of ingredients, you can make French Fennel Onion Soup or Potato Fennel Gratin. Both are well worth the effort. Yum.

sliced fennel

I don’t know what it is about me and making food taste like ‘candy,’ but for some reason, while I am in the middle of consuming—usually some variation of roasted vegetable—I think of candy. Not candy from the candy shop, necessarily, nor the overwhelm of eye candy that I experience each time at the Farmer’s Market, but rather food candy, veggie candy, or simply the amazing sweetness of nature that is meant to mesmerize us.

Fennel does that to me. I look forward to a bite of fennel the way my kids look forward to a bite of candy. I loved it roasted; and tonight I tried it sauteed and it was equally to die for. And for our family of four, this was just one fennel bulb, 3 small parsnips and a T each of olive oil and butter. Peel parsnips, then mandolin both parsnips and fennel. Toss into skillet with olive oil and butter, sautee over medium low for 10-15 minutes until caramelized. Add big pinch of kosher salt and coarse pepper. Serve.

Simple is good.

More great input on fennel:

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  • rick gregory said (12 October 2007 at 11:54 pm):

    What? You left out… Parmesan.. mmm

  • Lydia said (13 October 2007 at 5:08 am):

    Weird… I have two fennel bulbs sitting in my fridge, awaiting inspiration! I was going to do something with them — I can’t remember what — and now they’ve just been languishing. A big bunch of roasted fennel will be perfect!

  • Kalyn said (13 October 2007 at 7:30 am):

    Ok, big confession here. I’ve never cooked fennel. It’s something I’ve been meaning to try for ages, so thanks for reminding me.

  • Cynthia said (14 October 2007 at 6:42 am):

    Hmmmm, I know that I would love roasted fennel though I’ve never eaten fennel.

  • Alanna said (14 October 2007 at 2:07 pm):

    Hmm, not sure I’ve roasted fennel – yet! Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Bea said (15 October 2007 at 4:09 am):

    I am just like you, love love fennel! Great tips for new recipes!

  • Patricia Scarpin said (17 October 2007 at 5:03 am):

    I have never tried fennel and you made me even more curious about it, Janelle!

  • janelle said (17 October 2007 at 8:51 am):

    Rick: it is very good with Parmesan, too, and a big glass of wine… maybe some pasta…

    Lydia: I can’t help but smile:).

    Cynthia: it is amazing really, you will never go back!!!

    Alanna: Roasted rocks!

    Bea: …and it just makes me think there are so many undiscovered veggies out there I need to try!

    Patricia: awesome.

  • Rachael said (18 October 2007 at 6:04 pm):

    Funny…I have two fennel bulbs in my fridge too! Must be an epidemic! LOL.
    Thanks for the ideas!

  • Erika said (19 October 2007 at 6:33 pm):

    Mmm. I looooove fennel! My new favorite way to use it is to slice it thinly and use it to top homemade pizza. Heaven.

    Otherwise, I like to nibble on it straight up, and I always save the stalks and fronds in the freezer to add to homemade stock.

  • janelle said (19 October 2007 at 7:27 pm):

    Kalyn: really? I find that hard to believe!?! You must, you must!

    Erika: yummo—I need to borrow that idea!

    Rachael: my pleasure!

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