Today, fennel is one of my favorite foods but it wasn't always this way. I was a little hesitant to try it because it has a notorious reputation for tasting like licorice. Nonetheless I decided to give it a try and I'm so glad I did! It adds a sweet and unique flavor to any dish.
When trying a new food for the first time you may ask yourself, what will this taste like? Will I like it? Will I actually use it? What do I even DO with it? These are very common food fears that keep many people from trying something until they have a recipe for it.
So what is fennel? Fennel is actually an herb in the carrot family. Fennel plants are green and white and have feather like leaves, similar to dill. You can usually find it loose in the produce section of most grocery stores. Some stores keep it loose in it's entirety and some trim down the leaves and pack the bulbs in a plastic clamshell. When purchasing fennel you want to make sure it is nice and white and not browning around the edges. You also want to make sure the "leaves" are nice and fresh looking and not wilted. Once you have picked your perfect fennel specimen you are ready to get cooking!
For this particular recipe I roasted the fennel in the oven. You may also sauté or even enjoy raw.
To prep your fennel make sure you give it a good wash to remove any dirt or debris. Chop the ends down to about an inch above the bulb. Every part of the plant is edible and you can even steep the greens to make fennel tea.
Prep time 5 min Cook time 15 min Total time 20 min
Prep the fennel by slicing off some of the bulb at the bottom, about a quarter inch.
Slice the bulb down the middle as shown in the picture.
Slice down the width of the bulb until you have nice, crescent moon shaped pieces. You may want to remove any hard pieces of the root before cooking.
Toss in a bit of oil (I recommend avocado oil because it is very light and has little flavor) add salt, pepper and garlic powder. Just a sprinkle of each is enough.
Spread the fennel out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake it at 425 for about 15 minutes. Give it a little toss about halfway through to make sure all the pieces get a little browned.
After you have washed and cleaned your sweet potato cut it into cubes, about 1 inch or smaller if you like.
Boil for 5 minutes, strain and toss with salt and pepper.
Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for about 10-15 minutes. You can bake it at the same time as the fennel to save time.
Once the fennel and sweet potato are nicely roasted, add them to a bed of baby lettuce greens and your'e good to go! If you like you can also add salmon or black beans to give the dish a little more protein. The dressing I used is an Almond Butter Turmeric dressing from Trader Joes. You can find it in their refrigerated case, usually with the produce. You don't need a very heavy dressing if you need one at all. The flavor of the fennel and sweet potato speaks for itself!
Enjoy and happy cooking!