This suspicious looking character showed up in my kitchen and started getting fresh...so I whacked him.
To torture this noir pastiche no longer, I will say that I love fresh fennel. I haven't had success growing this potherb in the garden, but I like to buy an occasional bulb and slice it up into salads or just munch it raw. It has a delicate anise flavor, but otherwise resembles celery in crunch and preparation.
I used a recipe for traditional Italian sauteed fennel, or Finocchio al Oglio e Aglio (Fennel with Olive Oil and Garlic) and took it a few steps further to make an accompaniment for our broiled fish supper. This dish would also be great paired with polenta or atop rice. The anise taste of the fennel still lingers, but it's richer and mellower when paired with its fungal friends.
Braised Fennel and Mushrooms
1 fennel bulb, whacked (trim off bottom and tops saving some of the feathery tops for later. Cut fennel in quarters and remove hard core. Dice coarsely)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
10-12 mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Salt and pepper
Heat oil in saute pan. Add garlic and stir around the pan for 1 minute. Add diced fennel and mushrooms and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chopped fennel fronds.
Serves 4 as a side dish.