Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables. The whole plant is edible. The seeds, fronds, stalks and bulb all have uses. Fennel bulb, sometimes called anise in the grocery store, has a licorice flavor and a crisp texture. The enlarged bulb is what we use as a vegetable. The stalks are great in stocks or soup. The fronds can be used as an herb, and the seeds are a spice. Fennel can be eaten raw or cooked. It makes a wonderful salad simply sliced thin, dressed with white wine, olive oil and salt and pepper and topped with shaved parmesan. it is great on a crudité tray. I often add fennel to a tossed salad to brighten the flavor. Cooked fennel is a natural with pork or salmon. It can be braised or roasted.
It actually is in season fall through early spring but I use it year round when the urge strikes. Look for firm heavy bulbs without bruising or drying. Cut off the stalks and reserve for soup or stock. Quarter the bulb cut out the solid core, then cut as the recipe instructs. I always use the fronds as garnish on any recipe I have used the bulb in.