The Florence Fennel bulb and stalks have a mild licorice flavor and a big crunch. They are tasty when sautéed. The fronds have an anise flavor and a delicate texture. Fennel is easy to grow. Its overlapping leaves form a bulb at the base of the celery-like stalks topped with feathery blue-green foliage. If you decide to allow fennel to flower, the parasitic wasps who help gardeners fight off aphids, cutworms and cabbage loopers, will thank you. As will the caterpillars who will metamorphose into swallowtail butterflies.
The salad below from the kitchn.com is delicious.
Shaved Fennel, Roasted Tomato & Pistachio Salad with Creamy Yogurt Dressing
Makes 4 servings
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup 2% Greek yogurt
1 large fennel bulb
1/2 cup slow-roasted cherry tomatoes (recipe below)
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking continuously, until emulsified. Add the yogurt and whisk until smooth. Season to taste with black pepper and set aside.
With a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the fennel bulb crosswise into very thin slices. Place in a large bowl and toss with the dressing until thoroughly coated. Add the roasted tomatoes and mix carefully, so tomatoes don’t burst.
Using the flat side of a knife blade, lightly smash the pistachios to break them into pieces and sprinkle over the salad before serving.
Slow-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 teaspoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 250°F. In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt. Place on a parchment- or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 2-3 hours, or until tomato skins are puffed and lightly browned, but still intact. (A few tomatoes may burst before they are all browned, which is fine.) Let cool for 5 minutes before using. Can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days ahead.
• This salad can be assembled and refrigerated up to 3 hours before serving.
• For best texture, sprinkle on the pistachios just before serving.