Don't feel intimidated by the looks of it. Just wash it and start slicing up the bulb - the entire bulb is edible (should not have brown spots). Throw it in salads, soups, stews, relishes, slaws, etc. Sprinkle some S&P over it and roast it or grill it. The feathery "fronds" can be used as a garnish or in salad dressings, gravies, etc.
If anyone has ever tried Gripe Water with their newborn may have noticed the licorice scent it has. That is because it contains fennel extract. Fennel has been known to help flatulence - from the young to the old. It also been known to help increase production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers. Yogi makes an organic women's nursing tea and the second ingredient listed is organic fennel seed.
Below is my FAVORITE fennel salad. It's full of flavor and easy to make.
Chicken Salad with Orange and Fennel (from Cuisine at Home):
- 1/2c mayo (I only use a couple of tablespoons)
- 1/4c Greek yogurt or plain yogurt (I increase to make up for the mayo I omitted)
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- Zest of half of orange (highly recommend doing this!)
- 4 cups diced cooked chicken (I just buy a whole roasted chicken at the store it tastes amazing and cuts down my prep time)
- 1cup halved red grapes
- 3/4 c diced fennel bulb
- 1/4c slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 Tbsp chopped fennel fronds
Eat with a croissant or on a bed of greens.