Here in Australia it is getting colder outside and it’s time to cook with fennel, known as ‘finocchio’ in Italian. Cooked or raw, all parts of the fennel are edible and used in Italian cuisine from the pale bulb, long green stalks and tender leaves through to the seeds. Fennel is aromatic and great flavour enhancer with an aniseed or liquorice-like flavour. Culinary uses aside, eating fennel has many health benefits. Italy has a long history of using fennel in both cooking and for health reasons. Read our blog to discover why fennel is a must-have ingredient for winter cooking. Italian Spoon have the top 10 fennel recipes from tasty first course, main and side dishes to enjoy fennel.
Fennel is a flowering plant that is low in calories but rich in nutrients. Generally speaking, foods that are bright are the most nutritious but don’t underestimate just how healthy fennel is. Fennel is a rich source of protein, dietary fibre and antioxidants such as vitamin b, vitamin c. Use fennel for anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. If you have a sore throat and cough, try boiling 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Then strain and add the sweetness of honey or sugar to your liking. Fennel is fantastic for relieving an irritated throat and breaking up mucus built up in your chest.
Did you know that fennel is a digestive and often used to treat gastric problems? Yes, it is true and all thanks to the properties in fennel which relax the digestive muscles and slow down your body’s digestion process. This means a deflated belly and reduced appetite as the slower you digest food, the longer it will provide energy without making you hungry for more. If that’s not enough the ladies will be happy to hear that studies show fennel helps to relieve pre-menstrual and menopause symptoms through regulation of hormones. Now there’s a little more motivation to add fennel to your diet. Now here’s the fun part with dishes rich in delicious fennel flavour.
Fennel is a popular ingredient in Italy, mainly in the winter season. The greatest flavour combination would have to be fennel and fish, not to forget sausages. I absolutely love Italian pork sausages infused with aromatic fennel seeds!
What else? I love to use:
• Fennel bulb stewed, crumbed, braised, baked, grilled or eaten raw in salads
• Tender young leaves for garnishing salads or add to soups
• Fennel seeds to flavour pork sausages, ragù
Check out some of these fennel-inspired recipes you absolutely need in your life:
1. Baked Rainbow trout with fennel, lemon and capers
2. Oven baked crumbed fennel
3. Slow roasted pork belly with fennel and apple puree
4. Pork cutlets with braised fennel
5. Oven baked salmon fillet with fennel salad
6. Oven baked snapper with potato and fennel
7. Rigatoni pasta with Italian sausage ragù
8. Braised fennel with olives
9. Fennel and blood orange salad
10. Fennel, pear and walnut salad
As you can see, all parts of the fennel make an aromatic and flavourful dish that is highly nutritious. Adding a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs to your diet can only improve your health. Want to reap the benefits of fennel and fennel seeds? Don’t just take my word for it. Try incorporating fennel or seeds to flavour your dishes today!
X Happy cooking!