What’s in season Wednesday?

This week I am focusing on fennel as I received it in my Riverford seasonal vegetable order. There are many benefits to eating fennel and it is a nutritionally dense ingredient.

The Benefits of Fennel

What does fennel taste like?

Fennel bulbs are a close relative of anise with a liquorice like taste. Crunchy raw fennel has a potent aniseed taste while roasted fennel is soft and sweet.

Why is fennel good for you?

Fennel is a nutritionally dense ingredient that is water soluble and a very good source of vitamin C (12% of RDI). Vitamin C is critical for immune health, tissue repair and collagen synthesis. It’s is a potent antioxidant and so protects the body against cellular damage caused by unstable molecules.

Fennel is also good for you because it contains potassium (8% of RDI). Potassium is a mineral that helps lower blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke and heart attack. 

In addition, fennel contains fibre (3 grams). Fibre may help elevated cholesterol levels, by removing potentially carcinogenic toxins from the colon. It helps with digestion by reducing inflammation in the bowel and decreasing bacteria that cause bloating and gassiness. 

 Furthermore, fennel contains calcium (3% of RDI) which helps build and maintain strong bones and improves the function of the heart muscle and nerves. 

Stuck for ideas on how to use fennel in a dish? Try this recipe for Roasted Fennel and Red Onion with Lemon.

Fennel Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 3 fennel bulbs, keep fronds for garnish.

  • 2 Red Onions

  • 1 Lemon

  • Olive Oil

  • Sea Salt

  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Serves 4

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5

  2. Chop the fennel bulbs into wedges and cut up the red onions

  3. Boil the fennel wedges in salted water for 5 minutes

  4. Drain the fennel and transfer to a roasting tin with red onions

  5. Peel the lemon with a potato peeler and add the juice

  6. Toss in olive oil to coat

  7. Season with salt and pepper

  8. Roast for approximately 45 minutes until the vegetables are slightly caramelised

  9. Sprinkle with the fennel fronds to serve

Variations

  • Try shallots or spring onions instead of red onion

  • Add a splash of white wine if you have a bottle open

This makes a great side dish to serve with fish or to make this a main meal add chicken thighs as a sheet pan dinner.

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