Roasted Fennel and Orange Salad

serves 2

1 – 2 large fennel bulbs, with fronds attached
2 oz olive oil
1 orange
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Trim the fronds off the fennel and reserve. Remove the stalks and cut a slice from the base of each fennel bulb ¼ inch thick. Slice each fennel bulb into 10 wedges, place in a baking dish and drizzle with oil. Season well. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized, turning once or twice during cooking.

Using a sharp knife, cut a thin slice off the top and bottom of each orange. Slice off the skin, removing as much of the pith as possible. Working over a bowl to catch the juices, slice down the side of an orange segment, between the flesh and membrane. Repeat on the other side and lift the segment out. Repeat with all the segments, then squeeze out and reserve any orange juice remaining in the membranes. Place the segments in another bowl with the onion and olives.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, reserved orange juice and remaining oil until emulsified. Season well.

Pour half the dressing over the salad, mix well and transfer to a serving dish. Top with the fennel, drizzle with the remaining dressing and scatter the parsley and mint over the top. Chop the reserved fennel fronds, sprinkle over the salad and serve.

Tomato-Fennel Soup

makes 4 servings

1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 cups or more vegetable stock
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes**
salt and freshly milled black pepper
dry mustard

Cut the fennel into slivers, reserving the tops. Heat the oil in a skillet; add the fennel, carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute until the onion begins to color, about 4 minutes. Add 1 cup of the stock and simmer until the fennel and carrot begin to soften. If the stock cooks out, add more. Add the tomatoes and another cup of stock. Season with salt and pepper and mustard to taste. Cook until everything is tender enough so that it will blend well. Blend the mixture in small batches; return to the saucepan and heat. Serve with sprigs of the reserved fennel tops as garnish.

**Fresh tomatoes can be substituted for some or all of the 28-oz can. Just chop (and seed, if desired) and add to the soup after the fennel and carrot.

Basic Gratin with Leek, Fennel, Zucchini

1 pound zucchini or summer squash, peeled and thinly sliced
1 pound combined of fennel and leek, rinsed and drained, and thinly sliced
6 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
2 cups milk, stock, or cooled vegetable cooking liquid
¼ cup all-purpose flour
salt and freshly milled black pepper
1 ¼ cups grated cheddar, swiss, muenster, monterey jack, or other cheese
½ cup fresh bread crumbs or panko

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease a 2-quart gratin or shallow baking dish. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the leeks for a few minutes until translucent. Add the fennel and summer squash and cook until crisp-tender (these will continue cooking in the oven). In a separate skillet, heat 2 more tablespoons of oil. Cook the onions and garlic, if using, until they start to brown, about 4 minutes. Whisk the milk into the flour in a small bowl. Whisk the milk mixture into the onion/garlic mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce is bubbly and thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste. Layer half of the squash, 1/3 of the sauce, ¼ cup of cheese and repeat, ending with 1 cup sauce and ½ cup cheese. Combine the bread crumbs and the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. If using butter, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons before using. Sprinkle crumbs over the cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the top is well browned.

Tips for Using Fennel

Ideas for Cooking from 2nd year intern Maggie

Fennel can be baked, steamed, or sauteed with excellent results. The leaves can be used as an herb or seasoning. Try using in place of dill. Fennel is excellent on baked or broiled fish with butter and lemon.

Storage tips:
Fennel will save in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Wrap the leaves in a damp towel and refrigerate.

Fennel’s mild licorice flavor pairs really nicely with oranges and roasted beets.
Try some roasted or fresh on top of this week’s recipe for Roasted Beet and Arugula Salad

Gingered Fennel with Garlic

from Moosewood Low Fat Favorites

2 medium fennel bulbs

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 tbls grated fresh ginger root

1/2 cup orange juice

2 tsp sugar

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Slice off the root end and trim the stalks and feathery fronds of the fennel bulbs, reserving a few fronds for garnish. Cut the bulbs into halves, remove and discard the tough inner cores and slice thin.

In a large skillet saute the garlic and fennel in the oil on med-high heat for about 7 minutes, stirring frequently and adding a splash or two of water if necessary to prevent sticking, until the fennel is golden brown. Add the ginger and the orange juice, cover, lower the heat, and simmer until the fennel is tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with the fennel fronds.