Don't throw out those fennel stalks and fronds after you remove them from the fennel bulb! Fennel tops can be enjoyed both raw alongside other vegetables in hearty salads or cooked in casseroles or soups and even added to marinades or stuffings. Do you need another reason to use the entire veggie? How about this one? It’s considered an aphrodisiac in many parts of the world!
Most recipes that call for fennel refer to bulbs only. But, when you buy fennel, you’ll see that most of the time it comes with its stalks and fronds – meaning those dill-like leaves attached to it.
When you cook with fennel bulbs, don’t throw away the stalks and fronds, though. In this recipe below – rolled turkey breast with fennel and apple stuffing – we’ve also used some fennel stalks to infuse the meat with that amazing anise-taste.
But there are many other ways you can use both stalks and fronds in your kitchen. It’s a pity to throw them away because they can bring so much flavor to your dishes.
How to Use Fennel Stalks
- Use fennel stalks when you make broth or stock, especially if you plan to use it in a fennel based dish.
- When you cook fish. Anyone who spent some time in the kitchen or rifled through a cookbook knows that fennel and fish are best friends. Use the stalks (and fronds!) whether you're grilling, poaching, or steaming the fish. How to do it? Lay a few stalks and fronds alongside the fish, as a bed, then cook it as you prefer – in the pan or in the oven. The fennel will infuse the fish with its sweet flavor.
- When you make gratin or casseroles, especially if you use the fennel bulb in the recipe. All you have to do is finely chop the stalks as well and add them to the dish, among other ingredients. We suggest you add a lot of cheese!
- Instead of celery stalks in any recipe. Fennel stalks look similar to celery stalks, although they have a different anise-like flavor. You can use fennel stalks in any stew or sauce recipe that calls for celery stalks.
- Freeze the fennel stalks in plastic bags for later use.
How to Use Fennel Fronds
If you're wondering how you can use fennel fronds in your recipes, just think about them as herbs, similar to dill or tarragon, and you’ll have the answer. Use them:
- In salads, especially if the salad contains fennel. Any green salad will have some extra flavor if you chop some fresh fennel fronds in it. Try a combo made of fennel fronds, arugula, baby spinach, citrus, roasted beets, nuts, and seeds. Of course, you can choose the ingredients to your taste. When it comes to salads, you have unlimited combos at your fingertips.
- For stuffing a roasted chicken or a whole fish, alone or with other fresh herbs and vegetables.
- In marinades. Chop fennel fronds and mix them with garlic and other herbs. Combine them with your liquid marinade and use it for fish or meat.
- In soups, if you want to give them extra flavor. Make sure you add the fronds during the last minutes of simmering.
- When you make pesto. You can add fennel fronds to your homemade pesto recipe. We have many ‘fake’ pesto recipes, like arugula, cashew, or spinach pesto. Get inspired with our basic pesto recipe and add a handful of fennel fronds to it (you can replace fresh basil with it or add them both).