What are fennel bulbs? I see them listed often in salad recipes. —B.S., South Bend, Indiana
Fennel is an aromatic herb and a member of the carrot family. It has a large pale green bulb, celery-like stems and feathery leaves. Sliced thinly, the fennel bulb can be used in salads or served with other vegetables and a dip. Uncooked fennel has a mild licorice flavor and crunchy texture. When fennel is cooked, the flavor becomes more delicate and the texture softens. Fennel can be sauteed, braised, baked and added to soups or stews. The feathery leaves have an even milder flavor and can be used in soups and salads or as a garnish.