Explains how to cut fennel easily with steps for wedges, slice or cubes, plus buying advice and some great recipe ideas to try out.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is mainly known for its beneficial essential oils as a component of teas that are good for the intestinal tract. The tuber is not only a child prodigy in tea. It is used to make soaps, candies, liqueurs and even salami flavored with fennel. The intense aroma makes salads, soups, pasta and fish dishes a highlight on the menu.
Opinions are divided when it comes to fennel. Some love its intense taste and others don’t eat it. The unusual tuber also poses a number of puzzles for many amateur cooks when it comes to how it is prepared. This guide will show you here to cut fennel correctly and prepare delicious fennel dishes.
- How to cut fennel: step-by-step guides
- How to cut fennel into wedges
- How to cut fennel into slices
- How to cut fennel into cubes for soup or stews
- Buying fennel – what to look out for
- Using fennel
- How to store fennel correctly
- Using fennel raw
- How to cook the fennel in a pan
- How to cook fennel in the oven
- Recipe: fennel and orange salad
- Recipe: fennel calzone
How to cut fennel: step-by-step guides
Fennel can be enjoyed raw or cooked . Depending on how you want to prepare it, it can be cut into slices, wedges or diced. The first step should always be washing the fennel under running water. After cleaning, it is advisable to pat the fennel dry in order to cut it properly, otherwise it will be too slippery for that. Then the fennel green and the stem base are cut off. The green can be used to season meat and fish dishes. The stalk, on the other hand, is not edible. Before you can start cutting, the fibers are removed from the stalk towards the fennel tip with a paring knifededucted. All you need to cut is a non-slip surface, such as a wooden cutting board and a sharp utility knife .
How to cut fennel into wedges
For fried or steamed fennel vegetables as a side dish, it is best to cut the fennel into wedges . Fennel vegetables go very well with fish, but also with dishes with chicken . How to cut the fennel into wedges:
- Cut the prepared fennel bulb in half. To do this, place them on the cutting board with the cut off roots. Now cut the tuber in the middle from top to bottom.
- The halves are now also cut in an upright position from bottom to top so that quarters are created.
- Now you can cut the hard core out of the quarters. He sits at the bottom of the pieces. However, it is important that the lowest part of the fennel stalk remains in the tuber. If you remove this, the layers of the fennel fall apart.
- Finally, put the quarters down and cut in from top to bottom so that gaps are created.
How to cut fennel into slices
Thin strips of fennel are particularly useful for salads . Salads that combine the anise-like taste of fennel with the fruity, sweet aroma of various types of fruit, such as oranges, are particularly tasty.
- As with cutting into wedges, stand the tuber up to cut it in half.
- Now remove the stalk by cutting the lower end into a wedge shape and then removing the stalk with your hands.
- Now place the fennel bulb with the cut surface on the cutting board. Now you can gradually cut into the fennel from top to bottom and you will get slices. Make sure that the cuts are perpendicular to the fibers of the tuber.
How to cut fennel into cubes for soup or stews
Fennel soup warms you up from the inside in winter and is a pleasant and healthy meal during a cold or stomach problems. For soups, cut the fennel into small pieces . This spreads the aroma well during cooking and the fennel is easy to puree.
- Cut the tuber in half as described above.
- Now the hard core is cut out. To do this, cut out a wedge-shaped piece in the lower half of the tuber.
- Place the tuber with the flat side on the board and cut it lengthways from top to bottom. Then place the knife horizontally to the existing incisions and cut again from top to bottom. The distances are varied depending on the desired size of the cubes.
Buying fennel – what to look out for
- Fresh fennel bulbs are hard and shiny white
- The outer leaves are criss-crossed with green, thick leaf veins
- The feathery fennel leaves are bright green and do not hang limp
Fennel is available in supermarkets all year round. It is important that the fennel green still looks fresh. The green stems should be firm, as should the white tuber. If it already has dark discoloration or bruises, it is better not to buy it.
The fennel consists of two components. The seeds are used as a spice and the tuber is used as a side dish or vegetable in hot dishes and salads. Fennel can be enjoyed raw, blanched, boiled or fried. Mediterranean cuisine in particular values its aniseed aroma and its digestibility. The cooked tuber also makes a varied accompaniment to fish and meat. Finely chopped fennel green is very suitable for refining creamy dressings. The fennel seeds of the faded fennel can be used as a spice or tea.
How to store fennel correctly
Fennel can also be stored for up to 10 days . If your plans change, it doesn’t matter. Simply store the fennel in a damp cloth in the vegetable compartment in the refrigerator. If the fennel is woody and dry, it should not be used anymore. If you want to freeze the fennel, the fennel must be washed and chopped and briefly blanched in lemon water. After the fennel has cooled down, it can be frozen well packaged and will keep in the freezer for about six months.
Using fennel raw
The green tuber unfolds its full aroma when raw: the essential oils provide a fresh aniseed taste and the soft meat in the heart of the tuber is particularly tender. The best prerequisites for having the vegetables always at hand as a healthy snack – optionally with a dip. In the salad of raw fennel tastes great and makes for neat bite. Provided that it has been properly peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces. Fennel salad is a real treat, especially with nuts, filleted oranges and fish such as salmon or shrimp.
How to cook the fennel in a pan
Like any other vegetable, fennel can also be fried in a pan with a little oil. In terms of taste, olive oil is best for frying. One must not forget one classic: Fennel antipasti from the pan. To do this, cut the fennel into slices with a knife or slicer, briefly turn it in a little flour and fry it in the pan. Simply delicious.
How to cook fennel in the oven
Place the quartered pieces on a baking sheet along with other vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers and a few sprigs of thyme. Pour some salt, pepper and oil over it and then bake for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown. The vegetables from the oven are a delicious side dish. A little tip: In summer, fennel can be an extraordinary side dish as a grilled vegetable.
Recipe: fennel and orange salad
This is where the sweetish bitter fennel and the juicy sweet taste of oranges meet and melt into a salad that your friends will rave about for a long time.
Ingredients for 4 persons:
- 400g fennel
- 1 red onion
- 1 orange
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 2 teaspoons of honey
- 3-4 stalks of parsley
- Walnut oil
- Carefully clean the fennel and remove the stalk and the fennel green. Now cut the fennel into thin strips and put it aside. Now peel the onions with a paring knife and cut them first in half and then also into fine strips. Toast the pine nuts in a pan without oil until they are golden brown.
- The next step is to wash the oranges and dry them off. The shell must now be carefully peeled off in thin strips. It is best to use a zester or a paring knife for this. Remove the rest of the orange peel. Make sure that the white skin is completely removed.
- Carefully separate the orange wedges from the skins of the orange while collecting the juice. Once the pulp is removed, squeeze the rest of the fruit juice out of the separating layers of the orange.
- Clean the parsley, pat it dry and pluck the leaves off the stem. Finely chop the leaves with a chopping knife and place the parsley in a bowl with the vinegar, orange juice, orange peel, mustard and honey. Then stir in the oil, salt and pepper into the vinaigrette. Then pour this over fennel, onions, orange pieces and pine nuts and mix the whole thing.
Recipe: fennel calzone
The calzone is a delicious alternative to normal pizza and is traditionally made with ricotta, ham, mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan. The fennel filling gives the calzone a new edition.
Ingredients for a calzone:
- 500g fennel
- olive oil
- 80g parmesan
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- Fennel spice (dry)
- Pizza dough
- 70 g salami
- Remove the stalk and the fennel greens with a chef’s knife and chop the greens. Then clean the fennel. Now cut the fennel into thin strips. Put 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan and heat it up. Then put the fennel strips in the pan and fry over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Season the fennel with salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, mix the fried fennel with breadcrumbs, parmesan and chopped soup greens. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees top and bottom heat (convection oven 200 degrees).
- Either make your favorite pizza dough yourself or take one from the supermarket. The pizza dough is now mixed with the dried fennel spice and then divided into 2 parts. Roll out a portion of the dough on a work surface strewn with flour. The rolled out dough should be about 28 cm in diameter. Then place it on a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Now spread the fennel on the dough and then the salami on the fennel. Leave a 2 cm thick border free. Roll out the other half of the dough also round and place it on top of the dough covered with fennel. The edges must now be pressed together. Brush the upper half of the calzone with a little oil and bake it for 20 minutes on the lowest rack.