Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Dish. I'm Natasha Ho, and this is your two minute tip to help you cook better food. And today we're doing another deep dive on an ingredient. We're gonna be talking about fennel.
Fennel was a mystery ingredient to me for a long time. I would see it in the grocery store, and I had no idea what it was or how to cook with it. So I thought it would be a perfect one for our deep dive; to talk about five things you should know about fennel.
So the first thing to understand about fennel is that all of it is edible. So the bulb on the bottom is edible, the stocks as well as the fronds. You can use all of that in your cooking.
Second thing to understand about fennel, it has a wonderful, crunchy texture to it that's very similar to celery. The flavor, though, is very licorice-y, kind of anise-inspired flavor that you'll get. When you cook that, that helps to bring even more of a sweet flavor to it. As those sugars inside of the fennel start to caramelize and will get a more tender texture through the cooking process as well. So if you want to transform from that crunchy, strong licorice flavor, you can cook it and you'll get more of the sweet and tender texture from a fennel.
The third thing to understand about a fennel is if you're going to serve it raw, the best thing to do is to slice it very, very thinly. This will help you to make it easier for it to be integrated into a dish. The same way as when you use onion in a raw state, you want those pieces to be very small, very thin. So the flavor is not overwhelming and that the texture is also something that's easy to integrate into the rest of your dish.
On the other hand, if you're going to cook it, for instance, you want to roast your fennel in the oven. You want to cut those into large, thick slices or wedges, are even better. This will help the bulb of the fennel to hold together much easier. And from there, you can finish it off with some olive oil, salt, pepper. Put that in the oven, it comes out. It's absolutely beautiful. I love to add a little bit of parmesan on that. I serve it as a side dish. It's wonderful with fish. Absolutely love fennel served that way.
And the final thing to understand about fennel is working with those wonderful fronds. The fronds on the fennel do not throw those away. You can use them like an herb in the kitchen, so I like to sprinkle those on top of a dish as a final touch. I've also put those into the blender and turn them into a pesto as well, which we'll be talking more about later on this month. And I'll also turn them into marinades as well for dishes because they have that wonderful licorice- anise flavor that you can allow to permit the rest of the dish.
So that is five things to know about working with fennel. If you have more questions, feel free to shoot those on over, leave them as a comment below. I would love to talk more about fennel with you. I'll see you next time. Bye.
I'm Natasha Ho, a trained chef and avid traveler. I've studied culinary traditions from cuisines around the world, and I help food lovers learn how to cook a wide variety of meals that are consistently delicious so they can have more fun, ease and joy in their kitchen.