Fennel is related to parsley and dill. It looks a lot like dill with feathery leaves. The bulbs of the plant are eaten and the essential oil comes from the seeds. Long used in Chinese, Indian, and Egyptian cultures as a great digestive, for coughs, asthma, and rheumatism. This oil comes for the Foeniculum vulgare. There is also a Foeniculum azoricum which is popular in Italy, Greece and Spain. Its bulb is smaller, but more flavorful and aromatic. Fennel is highly priced in fish dishes, salads, marinades for pork and veal. The seeds have a nice licorice taste and pair well in cookies, sweet pickles, and seafood.
Sweet Orange Essential Oil I prefer organic since most citrus plants are pressed to remove the essential oil from their skins. Pesticide residue can be left in the essential oil. Orange Oil can be used in the place of the orange zest. I find most citrus oils be very handy in the kitchen when I do not have the fruit or I am in a hurry.
This salad I recently made for class here at Gritman. If you ever take a class with us, you not only get to experience how to use essential oils medicinally, but also taste them in the food for lunch. Arugula is in season right now and fresh. This recipe uses the bulb of the fennel for the salad as well as the Fennel Seed Essential oil in the dressing. The arugula gives it a nutty green flavor, hazelnuts the crunch and the dressing a nice citrus sweet finish. I hope you enjoy. It can make a wonderful appetizer course at Thanksgiving too.
- 1/4 cup of fresh orange juice
- 1 T. fresh lemon juice
- 1 T. minced shallots
- 1 clove of minced garlic
- 1/4 t of Dijon Mustard
- 3 T. Fractionated Coconut Oil
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 5 oz. (5 cups) arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried
- 1/4 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
- 2-3 drops of Fennel Seed Essential Oil
- 5 drops of Sweet Orange Organic Essential Oil
- Salt and Pepper
Combine the orange juice, lemon juice, shallots and garlic in a small bowl, let sit for 20 minutes, and then stir in the Dijon mustard. Slowly pour the coconut oil into the citrus mixture while whisking vigorously. Salt and Pepper to taste.
Cut off the top and bottom of the fennel bulb. Cut it in half lengthwise. Lay one half flat on a cutting surface and slice crosswise as thinly as possible. Stop slicing when you hit the core. Repeat with the second half. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
Put the sliced fennel in a large bowel with the arugula, hazelnuts, and dried blueberries. Add the Fennel and Orange Sweet Essential Oil to the citrus dressing. Stir. Toss the salad in enough dressing to lightly coat the leaves. (You may not use all the dressing. Season with salt and pepper serve; Serves 4.
Next time we will talk about Nutmeg and Cardamom in a Pumpkin Stew.