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You’ll fall in love with fennel once you try these aromatic recipes

Marilyn Denis Show

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Fennel carries around a bad reputation. Many are unsure if they have tried it, and some are too scared to because they’ve heard it tastes like licorice (which can be very divisive). But with a little TLC—read braising, caramelization or sautéing—this aromatic vegetable shines in soups and stews. Hell, we even enjoy its brash crunch in fresh salads. A natural pairing with all kinds of fish, it’s no surprise 90 per cent of these recipes call for seafood.

WHOLE BROILED TROUT

A real showstopper—that’s what this recipe is. And all it takes is stuffing the whole trout with freshly sliced fennel gussied up with garlic and lemon juice—all which gently perfume the fish as it bakes in a speedy 18 minutes.

Spencer’s Big 30

CLAMS IN A FENNEL BROTH

This recipe won’t fail to impress. Fennel is presented two ways: in its thickly-sliced veggie form and the seeds for a hint of nutty toastiness. They both bring their aromas to white wine, cream and clam juice broth that’s made for dunking crusty bread.

A is for Apple

GRILLED FENNEL AND POTATO SALAD

Thanks to the gentle charring, the licorice-like flavour of the fennel is enhanced, perfectly balancing the creaminess of the smashed potatoes. A squeeze of grilled lemon and a sprinkling of thyme leaves is all the garnish you need.

LAMB CHOPS WITH A SPINACH AND FENNEL SALAD AND LEMON-DILL VINAIGRETTE

Fennel seeds add a pop of flavour to the salad dressing that packs a punch with a hint of chilli and zesty lemon juice. Thinly sliced fennel, radish and spinach team up for the salad that makes a perfect accompaniment to the lamb chops.

Marilyn Denis Show

CIOPPINO

The base of this classic fish soup is made by sautéing fennel along with aromatics like garlic, onion and bay leaf. Bursting with clams, mussels, shrimp and white fish, the zesty tomato broth will have you licking your lips over and over.

Martha Stewart’s Cooking School

GROUPER WITH SAFFRON FENNEL COMPOTE

You cold serve the saffron and wine-scented compote with the grouper, but we would happily enjoy it as part of a cheese board, on little toasts as appetizers or with roast chicken or pork. Bonus: the compote can be made a day ahead of serving.

Cook Like a Chef

PAN-SEARED STURGEON IN PERNOD CREAM WITH CITRUS & FENNEL SALAD

Licorice-forward Pernod liqueur complements the aroma of the fennel salad in this elegant main. We love the bright orange dressing and juicy grapefruit segments that burst against the firm bite of the crisp fennel slices.

SALMON WITH POACHED FENNEL AND HORSERADISH BROTH

Poached in a rich cream, milk and stock broth, fennel is the real star of this recipe turning all tender and silky. We’re tempted to swap out the salmon for fresh jumbo shrimp, or roasted potatoes for a vegetarian version.

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FENNEL AND ROOT BEER-MARINATED SABLE FISH

Warning: you don’t actually eat the fennel—it’s just part of the marinade. But the addition of herbaceous root beer is genius paired with licorice-like fennel, earthy cinnamon and nutty fennel seeds.

Fennel and Root Beer Marinated Sablefish

Fish the Dish

STEAMED FISH WITH FENNEL AND CITRUS

Take steaming white fish up a delicious notch with a colourful tumble of this sprightly salad with blood orange and red grapefruit segments tossed with thinly sliced fennel. Dressed in a quick citrus-olive oil vinaigrette, this is simplicity at its best.

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SALMON WITH ROASTED FIGS AND BRAISED FENNEL

The fennel gets a double dose of cooking here: first seared to get caramelized, then braised until tender in chicken stock. Paired with honey- and chilli-roasted figs, it provides a savoury counterpart to the rich salmon.

A is for Apple

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