October 31, 2010

F is for Finocchio

Finocchio is an adorable Italian word which translates to Fennel. An anise scented bulbous vegetable that pairs well with fish, Parmesan, and blood oranges. Native to the Mediterranean, this veggie was brought to the states over 200 years ago (most likely by the Spanish), it is a biennial that blooms in its second season. Fennel is prolific and will quickly take over your garden, much like mint.

Try using it in place of celery. Fennel is delicious shaved thin and eaten raw with Parmesan & arugula drizzled with olive oil. It holds up well to braising, roasting, caramelizing or grilling and infuses potatoes with a lovely licorice bite in this Tuscan inspired Pommes Anna. The Tuscan inspiration comes from the Fennel (of course) as well as olive oil.