As I put my garden to bed for the winter today I was taken with the aroma of my large stand of fennel as it was bruised, crushed and chopped down. What a scent!
I've been growing bronze fennel for several years taken mostly with its pretty green lacy foliage and bright yellow flower heads in mid summer. It reseeds like crazy so I have had to be careful that it doesn't take over the garden.
I once used cut leaves on top of charcoal to grill a fresh large bluefish stuffed with onion, more fennel, and lemon for a dinner party. It was the best ever!
This year I harvested seeds thinking I might used them in the pistachio biscotti I make or in Italian sausage or tomato sauce. With the sweet licorice flavor these seeds impart they can be used in any dish that needs a boost of flavor. Meatloaf, chicken or turkey stuffing, soups, and salads.
Combining fennel leaves and French tarragon in a chicken salad is another of my favorites. Add a few small red seedless grapes, some celery and wild rice and you have a supreme main course salad. A little crusty multi-grain bread and a bottle of white would round out that meal perfectly.
Bronze Fennel has just as many culinary uses and looks great in the garden too. What more could an edible landscape gardener ask for?