View Full Version : Fennel/Anise: Same thing?
08-09-2001, 08:14 PM
Okay, I feel dumb. I was going to make the Mediterranean Chicken Kebobs, so my DH bought the ingredients for me. He said the produce guy said that fennel and anise are the same thing. That seems strange to me because I thought someone said on the Med. Chicken Kebob review thread that fennel was kind of like onion. Of course this anise-thing smelled like licorice (you know, "star anise") and not at all like onion. Is that a leek that's like an onion and not fennel? I'm so confused!! The top of the fennel/anise vegetable was "dill looking". Did he buy the right thing?
BTW, I made the kebobs with ONIONS since I wasn't sure and they were fantastic!
08-09-2001, 08:25 PM
Straight from Epicurious.com
Known as far back as at least 1500 b.c., this small annual plant is a member of the parsley family. Both the leaves and seed have a distinctive, sweet licorice flavor. The greenish brown, comma-shaped anise seed perfumes and flavors a variety of confections as well as savory dishes. It's also used to flavor drinks such as PASTIS, ARRACK, ANISETTE and OUZO. Anise seed plays an important role in the cooking of Southeast Asia. Chinese cooks are more likely to use STAR ANISE than anise seed. See also SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART .
There are two main types of this aromatic plant, both with pale green, celerylike stems and bright green, feathery foliage. Florence fennel, also called finocchio, is cultivated throughout the Mediterranean and in the United States. It has a broad, bulbous base that's treated like a vegetable. Both the base and stems can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a variety of methods such as braising, sautéing or in soups. The fragrant, graceful greenery can be used as a garnish or snipped like dill and used for a last-minute flavor enhancer. This type of fennel is often mislabeled "sweet anise," causing those who don't like the flavor of licorice to avoid it. The flavor of fennel, however, is sweeter and more delicate than anise and, when cooked, becomes even lighter and more elusive than in its raw state. Common fennel is the variety from which the oval, greenish-brown fennel seeds come. The seeds are available whole and ground and are used in both sweet and savory foods, as well as to flavor many LIQUEURS. As with most seeds, they should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Though common fennel is bulbless, its stems and greenery are used in the same ways as those of Florence fennel. Fennel is available from fall through spring. Choose clean, crisp bulbs with no sign of browning. Any attached greenery should be a fresh green color. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, up to 5 days. Fennel is rich in vitamin A and contains a fair amount of calcium, phosphorus and potassium. See also SPICES; HERB AND SPICE CHART.
08-09-2001, 11:34 PM
Your husband bought the right thing indeed. Fennel has a flavor of anise, and while technically not the same thing, the names are used interchangeably (kind of like the sweet potato/yam thing - they are not technically the same thing, but people call them the same and the names in the US are used interchangeably. We do not have real yams in this country). Anyhow, try the fennel - it's wonderful, and you will notice the "anise" flavor right away. But it is so mild, and it's like an onion kind of in texture and in the sense that it mellows like an onion with cooking. I think that's why the other person said it was like an onion. Roasted fennel (anise!) is fantastic! Don't be afraid to at least try it....
Oh, and glad to hear the recipe was a winner - I was looking at that one and have a pork tenderloin in the freezer waiting for just the right recipe to come along!
08-11-2001, 08:10 AM
Thanks ya'll! I can always count on the BBers! Next time, I will definately use the strange, licorice smelling "onions"! :p
Thanks, Grace. That makes sense. I wasn't sure but had thought that fennel referred to the bulb and leaf parts and that annise referred to seeds and extract, but that just seems to be how I come across them used.
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