Fennel is such great vegetable. To begin with, it is a winter vegetable, and getting something this fresh and crunchy in winter is wonderful. Writing this, our neighbors in Italy have huge fennel bulbs in their kitchen gardens. We have buy ours, since we are not around in autumn to plant and water our garden.
This is the peak season for fennel and the bulbs are so firm and yammy, I have to stop myself from shaving a little bit to every dish I make. I love the taste, but having everything taste like aniseed is not ideal.
Fennel goes well with many things though. It adds depth and sweetness to a green juice, and brings a nice texture when sliced to a green salad. Fennel makes a fantastic side salad combined with lemon and parmigiano (recipe here) or with beans and tuna (recipe here).
Whatever I’m making, I tend to use fennel raw, to avoid its overly sweet flavors – and to enjoy that crunch.