Fennel is used a lot in Italian cooking. But while the bulb features regularly in recipes, most people don’t realise that every part of fennel is edible – the stems, fronds and pollen also – and each delivers its own version of the wonderful fennel flavour.
The fronds are great used in salads as a herb, but when each bulb comes with an abundance of fronds, it is with a heavy heart that they are often cut off and binned. In some instances, when bought in the supermarket, the fronds aren’t even left on the fennel which means there is a bag of fronds out the back just crying out to be used. Luckily, our fennel is bought from our local farmers market, fronds and all.
The next time you buy a bulb of fennel don’t discard the fronds, just make a jar of this fennel frond salt. It is a great simple recipe that will leave you with a wonderful condiment that you will find excuses to put on almost everything.
Fennel Frond Salt
Fronds from 1 fennel bulb
1/2 cup rock salt
3 tablespoons black salt flakes (or other salt flakes)
Preheat oven to 80° Celsius or ‘Keep Warm’ setting if your oven has it.
Carefully remove the fronds from the stalks of the fennel and place in one layer on two baking trays. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes until completely dry.
Meanwhile, in a mortar and pestle, place rock salt and pound until the salt is broken down into your desired consistency (I like mine still a little rough).
Remove fennel from oven when dry and place in mortar and pestle with the salt, grinding until the fronds are in tiny pieces and evenly distributed throughout the salt. Add the salt flakes and grind gently (salt flakes are delicate and don’t take long to break down) till evenly distributed.
Stir well and place in an airtight jar. Use to season meat, fish, chicken or vegetables. Will keep indefinitely.