fennelI like to think of myself as fairly adventurous in both cooking and eating. With the exception of making yeast breads (too many failures to count), I’m willing to try making just about anything. And vegetables? I’ve yet to meet one that I don’t like, if not love.

All that aside, somehow, the mighty fennel completely slipped under my radar. Not only had I never purchased or prepared fennel, I’ve never even eaten it (unless some chef slipped it into a dish without my knowledge). It’s not that I was unaware of fennel, I just didn’t know how to prepare it.

For some odd reason, I not only started thinking about fennel this week, I actually bought two bulbs. But what to do with it? Yes, that’s right, I purchased it with no recipe in mind. When I got home, I decided to give roasted fennel a try. I quickly searched for some recipes, and discovered a very simply one.

I sliced the bulb into approximately 1/4 inch slices, tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of balsamic vinegar, and then spread them out on a cooking pan (lined with tin foil to help with cleanup). I roasted them for about 30 minutes in a 425 degree oven, flipping them over once about halfway through. It was delicious! Although fennel is known for having a licorice scent and flavor (and I love licorice), it wasn’t overwhelming.

I liked it so much, that I’m now on a quest for other fennel recipes. I posted about it on Facebook, and friends have suggested a variety of dishes that sound great, including cooked with cheese, sauteed with halibut, and slicied in a salad. I also found a few interesting ideas online, including adding some chopped into tuna salad.

Do you cook with fennel? If so, what are some of your favorite preparations?