What are Fennel seeds?
Fennel seeds are used as a spice and are the fruits of the fennel plant. The fennel plant belongs to the umbelliferae family and has its origins in southern Europe, the Mediterranean region. It is a hardy plant which is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. Even the Romans enjoyed fennel as a vegetable, with Indians using fennel as a spice and medicinal herb.
Today, fennel is a commonly used vegetable, spice and medicinal plant worldwide. The fennel can reach a height of 2 meters and has delicate leaves that bloom yellow. The fennel seeds are as mentioned before the dried fruits of the plant consisting of two single seeds with five grooves which are blue-green in color.
The fennel itself is a vegetable tuber and is often eaten as a salad or vegetable garnish with fish.
The Italians like to eat fennel with sardines fried over pasta. In France, it is common to grill fish on a bed of fennel vegetables, especially fish like perch or mullet.
Fennel spice has a mild spicy-sweet, the anise-like, aroma with a warm sweet smell. By roasting the fennel seed, it gets a sweet taste.
Fennel is now valued and used worldwide as a spice. In Iraq, one knows that fennel unfolds its aroma in combination with flour and therefore is used in baking bread with nigella (black cumin). In Italy, it spices rosemary with the famous suckling pig Porchetta. As well as the famous Finocchiona, which is the Florentine salami. In India, fennel is used to make traditional spice blends such as curry and garam masala, which in turn refine sauces, vegetables or lamb dishes. In China, you mix with it as the main ingredient of the five-spice mixture for meat and poultry dishes.
Generally speaking, fennel goes well with fish, seafood, pork, duck, cucumber and tomatoes.