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What to do with Fennel tops?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've been buying quite a bit of fennel lately, I like to saute the sliced bulb, sometimes with a bit of lemon, white wine, garlic and parmesan, and serve that to accompany pork or fish. However I always keep the green tops for about a week and then toss them because I haven't done anything with them.

I know you can use them for soup or fish stock. The thing is, I'm eating WAY more fennel than I am making soup, and I never use fish stock.

So.... any other idea? Can you actually dice it and cook it or is it too tough? I know I could just try but I don't have much time so if anyone has tried it before?
post #2 of 7
If you mean the fronds (the stuff that looks like dill), you can use them as a garnish. Very nice on things that can take a little anise-y flavor.

If you mean the stalks (the parts that look like celery), you can use them pretty much as you would use celery. I like to chop them up (fairly small) and add them to the mirepoix (vegetable base) when I make a red sauce for pasta. Especially good with hot or sweet Italian sausage crumbled and added! :lips: Also add them to the mirepoix for cooking dried beans. I do find them a little tough, but dicing them small and cooking for a long time softens them enough.

I've never tried shaving off the outside (like de-stringing celery), but if I were to make a puree with them, I'd do that. For other uses, it's just a little more fiber. :lol:
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
I meant the stalks, yes, thanks!!

Puree! Why didn't I think of that! Sounds like a great idea. And I guess it would be perfect to replace celery in a mirepoix for lentils then. I've been eating a lot of lentils lately.

OK so that's at least two great ideas. Thanks!

So basically the reason all recipes always tell you to use the bulbs and discard the stalks is because the stalks are a bit more tough and stringy, correct?
post #4 of 7
Normally, I just dice it all up in my cooking.. tops and all.. it looks good and doesn't alter the flavors.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks! So for my dish of julienned fennel bulb, you would recommend also julienning the tops and cooking them along with the bulb? Same cooking time? You don't find the tops to be tougher than the bulb? Or you do but find it doesn't matter?

Thanks! I may try that next time!
post #6 of 7
I use fennel most often in my roasted veggies as I like the extra flavor it brings. Cooking time will be about the same.

Normally, when I cut up my fennel, I just start chopping... all the way up to the top.

It's great flavor and amazing of how folks who don't like the 'anise' flavor in things eat fennel cooked as the flavor softens but enhances everything else. It's like cooking with Sambucca... same premise.

Good luck!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Up until about a year or two ago I hated the anis flavor. Now I love fennel. Go figure.

Anyway - thanks a lot for sharing your ideas.
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