If you’re Italian, you probably remember fennel as the crunchy, licorice-flavored vegetable that was served raw at end of holiday meals.
“Finocchio!” (pronounced feeh/NOHK/kyoh), is what the older generation in my family calls it.
Growing up, I never particularly enjoyed fennel. I wanted to like it. I tried to like it. But it just didn’t do it for me. At least, not until I learned different ways to prepare it, other than ‘crudite style’.
When fennel is roasted, the flavor becomes more delicate and the texture softens. It tastes completely different.
I served this fennel dish at an Autumn Harvest cooking class and while I expected people to like it, I was shocked when it tied with Raw Chocolate Pie as the favorite recipe on the menu.
One of the keys to making this dish is to slice the fennel and the onions very thinly and to re-season it with salt and lemon at the end of cooking, as necessary. You’ll also want to cook it until the fennel has completely softened and even begins to turn a bit tan in places.
One of my other all time favorite fennel recipes is Fennel, Pomegranate & Granny Smith Salad.