I hate the taste of licorice with a passion and I can only tolerate something like anise if it is a minor ingredient. As a kid, I routinely tried to like those licorice candy bits but to no avail. I hated it.
This week's CSA share had two bulbs of fennel. I almost swapped them for something else but I changed my mind because I'd never cooked with fennel before and was curious how it would turn out. I've been told that the licorice flavour becomes more and more subdued as fennel cooks. Because I hate licorice so much, raw in a salad was totally out of the question. I know that some folks put it in soup, but it's so damn hot here that one pot of soup a week is the most I can handle. I really couldn't think of what else to do but oven roast it. Oven roasting is my default for vegetables I've never cooked with or if I am out of ideas. It is actually my favourite way of preparing a lot of things like broccoli, cauliflower and squash. Easy and flavourful.
I cut up the bulb into manageable pieces (sort of looks like artichoke hearts, eh?), drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper & nutritional yeast and oven roasted at 450F for about maybe 25 mins (can't remember exactly how long) until it was tender, browned and caramelised. I then garnished it with a little bit of the fluffy green tops.
The verdict? It was pretty good with only a hint of licorice. Would I make it again? Maybe for guests who are fans of fennel but probably not for myself. It was fun experimenting though and I was still pleased with the results!