Springtime Eats

Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

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When it comes to the first day of spring, particularly after a long winter, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to enjoy spring fennel, English peas, and asparagus. Fennel, also known as finocchio in the Italian community, has a pale cream-colored bulbous base with pale green stems and bright green feathery, dill-like foliage. The flavor is like anise, or like a mild, somewhat sweet licorice. You can eat it raw as a snack, toss it in a salad, or enjoy the base and stems braised, stewed, roasted, or grilled. Snip the feathery foliage and toss it with your salads. You can use the whole thing. When buying fennel, look for crisp, firm bulbs, without any brown or soft spots, and with deep green foliage. Once you get it home, store it in the fridge, wrapped in a kitchen towel, for up to 5 days. Fennel is a wonderful source of vitamin A and contains good amounts of calcium and potassium.