The fennel cream in the Seared Scallops with Fennel Cream was such a hit last summer I have been dreaming of other ways to use it. So I made up a batch of the cream and started experimenting… now I have a few ideas that I can use to incorporate more of this interesting flavour in our meal rotations. The one change I did make to the original cream recipe was to use 2 cups of 10% cream instead of whipping cream to lighten it up because you use more of it in the new recipes.
I also did a bit of digging into the nutritional value of fennel. What a pleasant surprise to find it has a lot of health benefits: only 27 calories per cup, is an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of fiber and antioxidant phytonutrients. Fennel is helpful in the treatment of anemia due to the iron content, promotes heart health due to the fiber level and is beneficial for blood pressure due to its potassium content. Fennel is also commonly used in digestive aid medications and anti-flatulance medications.
There is a phytonutrient compound, anethole, found in fennel seeds that reduces inflammation and has been shown in animals to help prevent the occurrence of certain cancers.
So.. in addition to being subtle yet interesting flavour addition it is good for you! I will definitely have to investigate how to incorporate more fennel seeds into my recipes as well.
You can add raw fennel to salads, braise it on its own, add it to roasted tomato sauces. Fennel is often associated with Mediterranean cuisine. Lots of Italian sauces and seasonings include fennel seeds. In the East Indian fennel seeds are often chewed to sweeten the breath and aid in digestion.
I definitely have more experimenting to do!