Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a white or pale green swollen stem ("bulb") below a green celery-like stalks with feathery leaves on top. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds of the fennel plant are all edible. It is related to parsley, carrots, dill and cilantro. This slightly sweet, crunchy, licorice-flavored vegetable is found often in Mediterranean cooking.

Fresh fennel can be stored in the refrigerator crisper up to a week. The fennel bulb can be used in many recipes, the stalks are often used for soups, stocks and stews, and the leaf fronds are useful for herb seasonings, dressings or on salads. Try sauteeing bulb strips with onions for a yummy side dish, or adding it fresh to salads or sandwiches.

Roasted Fennel with Olive and Garlic
from epicurious.com

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
4 small (3-inch-diameter) fennel bulbs, trimmed, each cut vertically into 8 wedges with core attached to each wedge
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 large garlic cloves, coarsely crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup halved pitted Kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Combine fennel, olive oil, garlic, thyme, and crushed red pepper in large bowl; toss to coat. Spread fennel out on baking sheet; sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper. Roast fennel 15 minutes. Using tongs, turn wedges over. Continue to roast until tender, turning 1 more time, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle olives over fennel. Roast until fennel begins to brown at edges, about 8 minutes longer. Season fennel with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl and serve.

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