I’ve often wondered what fennel tastes like, having seen it in the market. I finally decided to try it when I was able to get organic fennel. Fennel is called finocchio in Italian, and finule in Old English. In Greek mythology, Prometheus used the stalk of a fennel plant to steal fire from the gods. Whatever it’s magical history — it tastes like anise (licorice) and gives an interesting flavor and crunch to a dish.
Fennel has a history of healing
Fennel is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. The charm is intended for treatment of poison (snakebite) and infection through the preparation of nine herbs made into a paste. Knowing what we know about the power of herbs to heal, it probably worked pretty well back then.
Fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family and is therefore closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds are all edible. Fennel is high in vitaimn C, fiber,folate and potassium. It is a good anti-oxidant.
Interestingly, the volatile oil that gives it the distinctive flavor, anethole, has repeatedly been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. The anethole in fennel prevents activation of a potentially strong gene-altering and inflammation-triggering molecule called NF-kappaB. Anethole has also been shown to be able to protect the liver of experimental animals from toxic chemical injury.
Roasted Beet and Fennel Salad with Balsamic Glaze
- 2 -3 pounds of organic beets
- 1 stalk of fennel
- 1 medium onion
- Aged Balsamic vinegar (where to buy aged balsamic vinegar)
- Extra virgin olive oil (where to buy olive oil)
- Sea salt (where to buy sea salt)
- 1 large casserole dishes (9 x 13)
- Clean and cut the ends off the beets and then peel the skin off
- Chop them into 1/2″ size chunks and place in a large casserole dish
- Clean the fennel by cutting off the stalks and flowering tops and save for garnish or soup
- Slice the fennel into similar size chunks
- Slice the onion into small pieces
- Mix all the vegetables together in the dish
- Generously pour balsamic vinegar over the entire dish
- Pour the olive oil over the entire dish (not as much as the vinegar)
- Season with sea salt and with your hands mix the balsamic and oil over all the vegetables
- Roast at 400 degrees F or until a knife goes through the beets easily (usually 50 – 60 minutes)
- Every 10 – 15 minutes or so, remove the pan from the oven and turn the vegetables in the pan so they cook evenly
- May be served warm or cold
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
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