For those of you that aren’t familiar with the term “buggy” it’s synonymous with “shopping cart”, kinda like the age old “soda” vs “pop” debate.  My brother’s girlfriend, Laura, isn’t familiar with this term.  She thinks it is hilarious, and neighs like a horse every time my brother says the word “buggy”. Anyway, the “What’s in your buggy?” posts will explore some food items in the supermarket that you might not be familiar with.  This week, were going to look into fennel. 

 Fennel has gained popularity recently on most of the Food Network shows that I have been watching.  Fennel has a large bulb at the bottom with leafy stalks growing out of it.  Everything from the leaves, seeds, stalk, and bulb are all edible.

How to pick fennel at the supermarket:  Fennel (sometimes referred to as sweet anise or just anise at the market) should have a nice clean white/pale green bulb, and the leaves and stalks should be a good green color.  Good fennel should smell a little bit like licorice. 

 Using fennel:  Different parts of the vegetable will be used for different things.  The stalks are commonly used in stocks and soups.  The leaves will sometimes be used as a garnish or in a salad.  The bulb is generally what you would be using in your dish. The only part of the bulb you won’t want to use is the very center which can be tough, that can be saved for a soup or stock.

What this video for information on how to clean your fennel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Woq5xV7G_N0

 Some suggestions on what to make: 

 Fennel can be sauteed in a little oil, salt, and pepper and served alone in a side dish.  Or try out this recipe from Ina Garten below.

Ina Garten’s (
http://www.barefootcontessa.com/) Roasted Fennel-
2 large fennel bulbs
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan shavings
Directions
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 

Remove the stems of the fennel and slice the bulb in half lengthwise. With the cut side down, slice the bulb vertically into 1/2-inch-thick slices, cutting right through the core. Spread the fennel slices on a baking sheet, coat with olive oil, salt, and pepper and toss with your hands. 

Roast the fennel slices for about 1 hour, turning them once after 30 minutes, until the edges are crisp and brown. Remove from the oven and cover with Parmesan shavings. Taste for salt and pepper and serve.