In Season: Fennel

By Meghan Rabbitt

With its impressive supply of iron, calcium, folic acid, carotene, and vitamin C, this member of the parsley family ranks surprisingly low on most people’s nutritional radar. Perhaps fennel’s licorice flavor scares them off. That’s too bad because fennel lends itself to a variety of dishes. Here are three easy ways to feast on fennel from Grace Avila, a San Francisco-based chef and nutrition consultant who specializes in whole-food diets for disease prevention:

Slice Into Salad
Cut the crisp, slightly sweet bulb in 1/4-inch slices, and add them to a salad with orange slices, pecans, crumbled blue cheese, and finely chopped mint. Or swap for celery in tuna or salmon salad.

Throw Them on the Grill
Toss bulbs (cut in half) in extra-virgin olive oil and a dash of sea salt, and grill, turning often to prevent burning.

Make an Easy Fennel Soup
Combine 2 medium fennel bulbs (washed, trimmed, and chopped), 2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (scrubbed, peeled, and chopped), and 6 cups vegetable or chicken broth in a pot. Simmer until fennel and potato are soft, and then puree until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of half-and-half or milk, and salt and pepper to taste.