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The Dirt: Focus On Fennel

Hello all,

This week we are harvesting fennel. Included below is information about fennel and a recipe. We hope that you enjoyed reading about chives last week and they are still available for purchase.

Our lettuce mix is also available this week.

Focus on FENNEL

Fennel is considered a vegetable, an herb and a spice! It is native to the Mediterranean region but grows well in S. Florida at certain times of the year. The bulbous base is eaten like a vegetable, feathery fronds that are used as an herb, and seeds that can be dried for a spice.

Fresh fennel has a delicate and mild flavor; some say similar to licorice but many self-proclaimed licorice-haters find that they actually like it. Texture-wise, the bulb is a lot like celery or onion: crunchy and fibrous when raw, soft and silky when cooked. The leaves are feathery and also mild in taste and can be used instead of basil or parsley.

Preparing Fennel for use:

Trim away any long stems and fronds on an angle, and reserve them for another use;
Use the edge of a knife to gently scrape away any browning on the outside of the bulb;
Cut each bulb in half so that it sits flat on the cutting board;
It can be sliced lengthwise or widthwise; diced or chopped like onions and celery; shaved into thin, crescent-shaped slices for soups and salads; or quartered for hearty stews.

Shaved Fennel, Zucchini, and Celery Salad (Martha Stewart)
• 6 small celery stalks, very thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1 bulb fennel, very thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
• 1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
• 1 can (15.5 ounces) butter beans, drained and rinsed
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
Step 1: Combine celery, fennel, zucchini, oil, vinegar, and beans in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Step 2: Stir in almonds and season with more salt and pepper just before serving.