Sauté garlic and onions, then turn the heat down low to dash to the garden to pick your fresh fennel. Both the ferny leaf and the bulb of fennel are primo when cooking like an Italian. The light licorice flavor complements other summer vegetables, too, roasted or sliced raw into salad.
The sweet scent and full flavor of Fennel make it a favorite among gardeners and chefs, and virtually the entire plant is edible so there's that much more to love. Grown for its light brown seeds, its fragrant young leaves, and its celery-like stalk, Fennel has so much to offer but won't ask for much in return. It's simple to sow and easy to grow, and is a very generous producer, treating you to its stalks and leaves the first year and then its seeds the year after. The plants can grow to be 3-5 feet, and will become laden with tiny yellow, five-bladed flowers before turning to seed. The bulbous stalks (harvest after the base begins to fatten) are white and crisp and can be eaten raw or cooked in countless ways. The fresh leaves (clip virtually any time) make a great garnish or way to flavor salads and main dishes. And the sweet seeds (collect when they turn a grayish green) can be ground or used whole to spice up any culinary creation.