ILLUSTRATION: HEATHER DIANE HARDISON
Substitute an equal amount finely shredded fennel for the cabbage in your favorite coleslaw recipe. Or make a tangy, lighter slaw by dressing your shredded fennel with a little fresh orange juice and olive oil. It’s the perfect side for grilled sausage.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Cut several small fennel bulbs into quarters and remove the cores. Toss the fennel with olive oil (just enough to coat) and season well with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast until brown at the edges, about 15 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Dice a couple slices of bacon and cook until crisp. Toss the bacon and its rendered fat with 4 cups thinly sliced fennel. Butter a gratin dish, and fill with fennel. Drizzle cream over the mixture until moistened, and bake uncovered until the fennel is tender and the top brown and bubbly, about 40 minutes.
Don’t discard those frilly fronds—use them instead of basil the next time you whip up a batch of pesto for an unusual and seasonal take on the classic sauce. It works just as well with roasted meats as it does on pasta. You can also mince the fronds and use them as a final garnish for any of the other dishes on this page.