When you buy fennel, it often comes with its stalks and dill-like fronds attached. However, most recipes call for fennel bulbs only. This doesn’t mean you have to throw the stalks and fronds away, though.
I like to add fennel stalks to a vegetable broth, especially if I plan to use the broth in a fennel dish—they lend quite a bit of anise flavor. The stalks also freeze well in plastic bags for later use.
You can use the mildly anise-flavored fronds as you would a fresh herb in several ways:
- In salads, especially if the salad contains fennel
- Tucked in the cavity of roasted chicken or whole fish, alone or with other aromatics
- Chopped and added to marinades for fish or meat, along with garlic and other herbs
- Added to chunky vegetable soups during the last minutes of simmering
- As a bed for roasting swordfish or halibut fillets (both fronds and stalks)