Monday, October 5, 2009

Fennel

I've been growing fennel for a couple of years without a lot of success.  My farmer friends say you need to start it in February in a greenhouse and then set it out in spring.  Since I don't have a greenhouse I've tried direct sowing it in March and it has done alright but never gets very big.  I think it's really for cooler climates so by mid summer we've managed to harvest a few small bulbs and then it usually starts to bolt.


Accept this one here, which I harvested yesterday, a huge bulb, 7 months growing!  Very tender and crisp with that wonderful anise flavor.  We've enjoyed it sliced thinly into salads with our first fall beets the past two nights, very tasty.

A nice way to use the feathery tops and stalks-which tend to be tough and fibrous-is to lay them in a pile on a hot grill and then put a fillet of marinated fish on top of the fennel to grill it.  The flavor of the fennel drifts up into and permeates the fish and makes a very delicious dish.

4 comments:

Mary Delle said...

The fish on fennel sounds like a really nice way to use it. Sliced in salads is also nice.

Garden Girl said...

Glad to know there are other fennel fans out there, thanks Mary Delle

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

Wow, thanks for this idea of ways to use fennel. I had no idea! I bought a small plant and placed it in a pot on my deck, with some other larger, flowering plants--hoping that it would be a source of food for monarch caterpillars but none showed up this year. I think the grilled fish idea sounds yummy! I love the anise flavor. I have Agastache (Giant Hyssop) and it has a scent just like licorice (or anise).

Stew said...

Whoa. That's a kick-ass bulb!