Fennel's great stuff. I use it in soups and stews, I'll braise it as a side dish, and it's terrific as part of a summer salad.
2 bulbs fennel, stalks trimmed
1 head red leaf lettuce, well rinsed and torn into pieces (substitute whatever's on hand)
1/8 c. thinly sliced red onion
1/8 c. chopped pecans (pine nuts are a good subsititue)
1/4 c. crumbled feta cheese
2 Tbs rice vinegar
pinch sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
~3 Tbs good extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
Trim the root end off the fennel. Peel off the outer layer if it has any brown spots. (Save the stalks and outer layer in a bag in the freezer for your next batch of stock.) Cut the bulb in half lengthwise, roll the bulb onto the cut side and thinly slice. Repeat with remaining fennel. Toss the fennel, lettuce, onion, pecans, and cheese into a large bowl.
For the dressing, in a small bowl mix the vinegar, salt, and pepper until the salt is disolved. Add the mustard, olive oil, and rosemary. Mix well. Drizzle over the salad mix.
Fennel bulbs are male and female. No, really. The female bulbs are rounder and squatter. The male bulbs are more elongated. The female bulbs are preferrable.
Orange slices make a great addition to this salad.