Knowing my love for dill, a friend brought me some a couple weeks ago. Not knowing that there were other plants with leaves almost exactly like dill, he had picked up fennel instead of dill :). I had used fennel leaves in salads before but wasn’t sure what to do with the bulb. I tasted it and it had an extremely refreshing taste, but a fairly hard texture. So, I roasted and softened it up just a little (still keeping it crunchy) and made a simple salad with fresh lemon dressing to compliment the taste of fennel. To highlight the taste and the fresh aroma of the fennel, I decided not to add any other vegetables to the salad.
1 fennel/anise bulb (I can’t tell the difference between the two herbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
lemon juice (to taste) - I used juice of ½ lemon.
zest from ½ lemon.
¼-½ tsp honey
salt, crushed black pepper
~½ tsp minced fresh garlic / garlic powder (or to taste)
1 tbsp anise/fennel leaves (chopped)
Remove the hard outer layers of the bulb. Clean the bulb thoroughly to remove any dirt. Cut the stem such that there is about an inch left above the bulb.
Carefully slice the bulb to ~¼ inch thick slices. For the slices towards the center, cut out part of the tough core at the bottom while still making sure that the slice will remain intact.
With a few drops of olive oil in a pan, roast the fennel slices over medium heat for 3-4 minutes until browned before turning them and roasting on the other side. Thicker slices might take a little longer. Remove the slices on a plate and let them cool slightly before drizzling the salad dressing.
For making the dressing, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt, pepper, garlic and chopped fennel leaves. Using a whisk or blender works well for getting the oil and lemon juice mixed properly. Adjust the ingredients to taste.Drizzle the dressing over the fennel bulb slices, and garnish with more fennel leaves and lemon zest to brighten it up. This refreshing salad can be served warm or at room temperature.