If you're new to cooking with fennel, the vegetable can look like it came from another planet. Don't worry, raw fennel is easier to deal with than it looks. We'll coach you through how to prep and chop fennel for all kinds of uses.
With its wispy fronds and bulbous base, fennel looks like a feather-topped, potbellied cousin to celery. But its flavor is remarkably different. The white bulb and bright green fronds have a gentle, slightly sweet anise flavor. The stalks of fennel are tough and usually not eaten.
It might look intimidating, but learning how to chop a fennel bulb is super easy once you know the process. Follow these steps to start:
Follow instructions given with a recipe on how to chop fennel, or how to slice fennel. If no specific instructions are given, and the recipe calls for fennel chopped, sliced, or cut into wedges, follow these instructions.
For Chopped Fennel:
Cut each fennel half lengthwise into two pieces to make quarters. Cut away and discard the tough core portion from each quarter. Then, cut the fennel quarters into irregular pieces as follows:
To Cut Fennel into Wedges:
When you want to bring an aniselike flavor and crisp crunch to a recipe, you can use fennel much like you would celery:
And what about those pretty, bright-green fronds? A sprig on a plate makes a graceful garnish, while a few snipped leaves can add a fascinating licoricelike flavor to dishes.
Now that you have all the info you need for chopping fennel, it's time to put it to use! Add it to salads, stir it into soups, and even transform fennel into a delicious, cheesy appetizer. If your dinner still needs a nutrition boost, try adding fennel as a new way to get everyone at your table to eat their veggies. If you do add fennel to a recipe, try saving a few of the fronds and sprinkling a couple of sprigs on top of your recipe for a garnish.