Kitchen Tip: How to Cut Fennel

Step 1. Rinse the fennel under cold water and pat dry. Lay the fennel flat on the cutting board, and use a large chef knife to cut off the "fingers." (Really, they're called fronds, but...come on.

They're obviously fingers.) Set those aside for later.

Step 2. Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, then in half again to make quarters.

Step 3. Tilt each quarter on its side and cut into the fennel on an angle to remove the core.

If you'd like to leave the fennel in wedges (best when serving as part of a roasted vegetable platter), leave a bit of the core to hold the leaves together.

If you'd like to separate it (best when adding to pastas, salads, etc.), remove the entire core.

Repeat with the other 3 quarters.

Step 4. Separate the leaves.

To roast, I spread the leaves out on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. You can also grill or saute them. They're also lovely served raw with a dip on a crudite platter.

What to Do with Fennel Fronds
Never throw out fennel fronds! They're edible and can be used in several ways.

Pluck some of the green leaves and mince finely to sprinkle over the final dish as a garnish. These are also wonderful pureed into salad dressing or soups.

You can also use the fronds and leaves to make homemade fennel tea, which is excellent for digestion (especially when bloated or consuming a lot of spicy food or legumes).

To make fennel tea: Simply place them in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, and then turn off heat and let steep, covered, for at least an hour. Drain and you have fresh fennel tea, which is lovely hot or can be chilled and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

(You can also add fresh mint leaves for a lovely mint-fennel tea!)

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