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Sweet, crunchy, aromatic Fennel

Updated: Dec 30, 2019

Fennel is an amazing vegetable, every part of the plant can be eaten. Although the bulb of the Florence fennel is most commonly used as a vegetable, the flowers, stalks, leaves and seeds are also edible. The bulb has a sweet, licorice flavour, crunchy and aromatic when eaten raw, sweet and silky when braised or roasted. The stalks, which are more tough and fibrous, are an aromatic addition to soups, stews and stocks, while the feathery leaves can be sprinkled in a salad or made into a delicious pesto.

Sliced raw fennel can be added to green salads, vegetable salads, mixed with slices of fresh orange and walnuts, added to coleslaw, or used alongside carrot and celery sticks with hummus and dips

Fennel bulb contains a decent amount of vitamins C, potassium, B6 and folate, and smaller amounts of vitamins A, E and K, B vitamins, choline, lutein, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.

Fennel is also delicious cooked. Braised or roasted, sautéed or stir-fried, it has a silky texture and goes well with other vegetables, mussels, salmon and pork.

Recipe - Fennel and Cauliflower Gratin

1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tablespoon butter or oil to sauté 1 cauliflower, cut into florets ½ cup full cream 1 cup grated cheese ½ teaspoon fresh thyme ½ - 1 cup sourdough breadcrumbs 1-2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Preheat the oven to 200 C. Heat butter or oil in a non-stick pan over medium low heat; add garlic and fennel. Sauté until tender, about 3-4 minutes.

Steam cauliflower until just tender. Add to fennel and garlic mixture. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat; add cream and 1/2 cup of cheese and toss together. Season with thyme and salt and pepper where needed.

Pour into a lightly buttered baking dish. Stir breadcrumbs and parsley together and sprinkle over cauliflower mixture. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and brown

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