Closely related to the herb fennel, the vegetable fennel is also known as Italian or Florence fennel. It is a popular vegetable in Mediterranean countries, but is becoming more widely used in Britain. Fennel has a distinctive anise flavour. Look for small, unblemished white tender bulbs with green fresh-looking leaves, dark green bulbs tend to have a slightly bitter flavour. Baby fennel are also available. Fennell is available all year.
Uses: Serve thin slices raw with French dressing or in salads with apple and celery. It is also good with fish and as an accompanying vegetable. The leaves can be used in soups and stock or as a garnish.
To store: Keep in the salad drawer of the fridge for 4-5 days.
To prepare: Cut off the root end and the leaves and peel the outer layer of skin away. Cut the fennel into slices, either downwards or across the bulb. If you are serving fennel raw, cut it into smaller pieces.
To cook: Cook in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes or until tender.