Fennel was one of the fun foods of my Italian-American youth. We’d eat it raw, like celery, while playing New York’s many street sports in those days or just watching TV. It was also a fixture of our Thanksgiving table, again served raw and quartered as a palate cleanser before dessert came to the table.
In recent years, I’ve also cooked fennel and served it as a fun side dish. First I trim off the frowns and longer stalks, and the center top, which tends to be dirty and tough. I then boil the fennel until it softens and then transfer the quarters to a cookie sheet, sprinkle on low-salt panko breadcrumbs and put under the broiler for a bit to brown. You also can add low-fat, or fat-free cheese.
Recently, I found fennel at Trader Joe’s in a much more convenient form than most places have it. They bulbs came packaged and the bottom frowns and stalks already were removed, saving me the work.
Fennel is one old food friend I can still keep in my post-angioplasty life, thanks fennel!