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Fennel can be served raw as a crudité, in salads and coleslaws or cooked as an accompaniment to fish dishes and seafood recipes. If preferred, the strong aniseed flavour can be mellowed by briefly blanching.
How to dice fennel
Cut the tops off of the fennel – reserve any trimmings for stocks, soups or sauces
Slice a thin layer from the root and remove any blemished outer layers
Slice the bulb in half lengthways and place on the board cut-side down
Cut through the fennel with the knife parallel to the board – do not cut all the way through unless you just want sliced fennel. Make even cuts down through the bulb, keeping the root intact
Grip the fennel firmly and cut across your cuts to create an even dice
Diced fennel can be used in purées, seafood risottos, bouillabaisse and ratatouille. Adam Byatt uses diced fennel in his recipe for Grilled razor clams with chilli, fennel and thyme while Galton Blackiston adds it to his piccalilli. Diced fennel is best when blanched in salted boiling water before use.
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