Week 4 of the CSA delivered us with a host of goodies: fennel, pattypan squash were the two more interesting of the bunch. Still workup up a recipe for the pattypan, but the fennel was too fragrant to put away when I brought it home. 20 minutes later, fennel frond pesto was born!
I have tried unsuccessfully in the past to incorporate fennel fronds (the feathery tops of the plant) into salads and sauces. This time, pesto was the inspiration and it was adjusted based on what we had on hand. It worked out so well that I had to share, even though it is visually pretty unimpressive. The taste is mild and fresh, and only lightly licorice-like. Lemon and garlic are addition. I used it with some rotini and it made a yummy side dish. I think it is probably fairly versatile to use in other ways – spread on bread with soft cheese? spread on fish after cooking? Try it out!
PS. You can use the fennel bulb in one of my favourite salads: Fennel, apple, cucumber, arugula, dried cranberries and balsamic dressing with a dash of curry powder mixed in.