Not long after we moved into our house, the neighbors dropped off a bag of produce. This was before we had started getting veggies from the CSA (before I really knew what a CSA was, in fact; this might possibly have been my first encounter with the idea). The neighbors were going out of town and hadn't had a chance to eat all of the veggies from their latest pick up. Did we want them? Of course!
I only remember one item from that bag. At the time, I had no idea what it was. So much so that I couldn't figure out how to eat it! There were some wispy leafy parts, stems, and a root. Which part was edible? I had no idea. Unfortunately, this episode was before I was being adventurous in the kitchen. After describing the item to a few friends (none of whom knew what it could be), it made its way into the yard waste bin. A few weeks later in the produce section of the grocery store, I spotted it and found out it was fennel.
Fennel has a light anise taste. It contains vitamins A, B complex, potassium, and essential oils and, according to The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health, stimulates appetite and digestion. Sounds like the perfect start to a meal! Here's what I did:
Lemon Pepper Fennel
Serves 2 as side or aperitif
1 large fennel bulb
2 Tbsp. high quality olive oil
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Slice the fennel into thin pieces. Add to bowl with remaining ingredients. Mix to coat. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving.
The simple ingredients combined to form an amazingly flavorful and fresh taste. I'll never waste a fennel bulb again!