With a distinctive taste - think a soft, floral anise vibe - fennel is the Marmite of the vegetable patch – the one that people tend to either love or hate. If you’re a lover, good news, July is prime fennel season.
Fennel is actually part of the carrot family, growing its dense bulbous base beneath the ground. It’s really good for you, packed as it is with fibre, potassium and vitamins C and B-6. It also boasts a pack of cholesterol which supports heart health.
One of the simplest ways to ‘do’ fennel is to make a simple salad out of it. Shave strips of fennel into a small bowl, squeeze some lemon juice over the top and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil before sprinkling a decent handful of parsley to finish. You can experiment with adding oranges or celery as you see fit. This makes a great accompaniment to chicken or fish – or all on its own for a tasty snack.
Many people recommend pairing parmesan with fennel – and how better to make this happen than in a risotto? We love Rachel Roddy’s recipe – which is a creamy, lemony dish with plenty of kick. Within the body of her recipe, Roddy reminds us what a therapeutic, absorbing process it is to make a good risotto – timing, temperature, patience.
Most fish goes really nicely with fennel, but we particularly like this sea bass recipe from the good old Beeb. With the inclusion of the olives and the basil – this is a Mediterranean dream, perfect for summer.