Fennel Fronds

jude31February 2, 2013

I'm using the fennel bulbs (2) for soup,but what about those beautiful fronds? Is there something I can do with them besides garnish? Yeah, I can put them in the compost but seems a big waste. Any other ideas? Thanks.


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I use the bulbs, stalks and fronds for soup also. The bulbs I dice and add to the soup. However, I will tie the stalks and fronds in a cheesecloth bag and simmer in the broth. Then I remove and toss the bag.

I've also used the stalks/fronds in a cheesecloth bag and added it to pasta sauce while it is cooking. If you have to resort to a jar of pasta sauce the chopped fronds can do wonders.

I have used the chopped fronds and minced garlic to chicken legs when I am sauteing them. Along with the juice of half a lemon and a splash on white wine at the end. Then I poured the pan drippings over the Basmati rice I served with the chicken legs.

Speaking of chicken legs ...... I just bought some from TJs today. I have purchased the organic chicken legs from TJs before and they are fantastic. I can't explain why they are so much better - they just are. There is not a lot of fat left in the pan when I saute them. I've even added a tiny bit of olive oil so they don't stick to the pan.

This post was edited by teresa_mn on Sat, Feb 2, 13 at 18:30

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Thanks Teresa, I think I may try the chicken legs. Would you believe, although I'm older than dirt, I have never cooked just chicken legs. I think I have enough fronds to cook a ton of legs. I put them in water in a quart jar and they're crammed in it. Quantity wise how much of the chopped fronds? I don't want to overpower the chicken.

Always learning new things on the CF.

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Well now Jude.... I will be 60 later this year. I don't consider myself older than dirt.....even though others may! LOL

For 6 to 8 chicken legs:
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 to 3 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds (more if you love that flavor)
1 Tbsp EVOO or whatever olive oil you have on hand

Mix the garlic, fennel fronds and olive oil and let sit for an hour or overnight.

Heat the olive oil mixture over low heat for 5 minutes and add the chicken legs. I cook over low heat and cover with one of those splatter screens.

Turn the legs ocassionally during 30 minutes of cooking. Add a splash of wine and lemon juice. Remove the chicken legs if they are done and reduce the sauce. Turn up the heat and add 1 Tbsp of butter if you are looking to thicken the pan drippings.

Now if you have that many fronds you should chop them, spread out on a sheet pan and dry in a 200 degree oven. Once dried they are always a welcome addition sprinkled in minestrone or vegetable soup, sprinkled on pork chops on the grill or mixed into any tomato sauce. You can also blend the dried fennel with garlic into butter. Freeze small portions and top grilled chicken or steak with a pat of the butter mixture.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:36PM
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I've tossed a few fronds in when sauteing carrots. I grow fennel, and the bronze fennel is what I use for carrots, but the green fennel would be just as good.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:39AM
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That's interesting, Sally. I have bronze fennel but have never used it. It was one of the first herbs I ever bought, probably 20 years ago, and I chose it for the lovely color and texture. Obviously I don't have much "fennel esperience" in my cooking. Am I right in assuming it doesn't form a bulb? Mine is in a pot, sunk in the ground to keep down the spreading nature of it.

Thanks for the recipe Teresa, I'll try that soon but I'll dry the fronds in the meantime.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:52AM
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I use fennel fronds in pasta con le sarde. If you aren't a fan of sardines, you may shudder at the ingredients (sardines, fennel, currants), but I like strong flavors, and this is a very assertive dish. If you're interested I can look for the recipe. I use one version from Paula Wolfert, but a google search will bring up lots of online recipes.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:13PM
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There are different types of fennel - not all will develop a bulb. But no matter what type you have the whole plant is edible.

Cheryl - I've never eaten a sardine. My father used to eat them all the time. But I like anchovies. Your dish sounds interesting.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 12:41PM
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I grow and incorporate fennel fronds in bouquets as a 'feathery' filler which allows one to expand a flower display using just a few blossoms. Some years ago I used only green fennel frond centerpieces intermixed with small American flags on gala 4th of July tables at a large luncheon. Everyone noticed. Rave comments.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:11PM
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I don't have a problem with bronze fennel spreading because it's too hot here. It dies out in the summer heat. But, I have had a green fennel come back this year. It just started growing a couple weeks ago. The bronze doesn't form bulbs. Yes, it's very pretty, and can be ornamental and edible.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:56PM
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