I had to start basic with this and it started out giving me a feeling of dread. I followed this recipe from Sprinkles and Sprouts and I was not disappointed with the outcome at all, even after much apprehension. The original recipe called for chives and parmesan cheese but I was lazy and only had green onions and swiss cheese so you can guess what substitutions I made.
This was just using the bulbs of the fennel but I hated to waste the stalks. As soon as I chopped the stalks off though I could smell it.
The licorice smell. It was strong and very present. My heart was immediately like, “Nope, you know you hate this, not feeling it” and I cast a weary eye on the stalks cast to the side. I tried a little nibble and it was like eating liquid licorice and I mean this was a nano nibble and the taste was that strong.
I couldn’t quite figure out how to chop up the bulbs at first. I knew I needed chunky slices so I sliced them across the stalks and ended up with a weird uneven cross section. The picture above though I cut between the two groups of stalks and got a beautiful slice. Easy peasy from here on out, just sliced them up and threw them on the pan.
I am a major fan of salt and pepper, as I mentioned before, particularly cracked peppercorns instead of the pre-ground dust you get at the store. Salt, pepper, some kind of oil and you have something delicious going on no matter what you’re cooking. Even if under all that seasoning lies something licorice-y, which is why this is covered in spices.
I really debated on using cheese or just straight roasting them to get a sense for how they taste. After nibbling on the licorice stalk my next step was to grab the chunk of swiss and drag it across the microplane.
There was a phase after I worked in a bakery where I wanted to do nothing but bake bread all the time. I would make crispy french bread then slice it up, sprinkle cheese, pepper and green onions and put them in the broiler and that was my meal. I’m not exactly cutting carbs out of my life but a whole loaf of french bread is not the best meal choice so these fennel slices got me excited at the prospect of a healthier alternative.
Did I mention how good these tasted? Because these tasted very good. No, these were great. The fennel didn’t really have a licorice taste but it did have a slight sweet taste. I only put cheese and green onions on a select few and I wound up eating all of them.
Actually, I didn’t eat all of them. I was eating some fresh ones while uploading the pictures to the computer and stepped out for a moment to get a drink. I come in and my chubby vegetable hating dog had taken three or four slices off my plate!
Y’all, my dog ate a new vegetable. My dog that used to spit out lettuce, broccoli, apples, carrots and kale ate a piece of fennel. If my dog can eat it, so can you.