Many Americans seem mystified by fennel. Whether it's the distinct flavor or the odd appearance is hard to say. But too many bulbs of fresh fennel sit on store shelves, spurned by shoppers, until they are too old to enjoy.
Fennel first impresses the eyes with its look of celery gone awry, blanched white and seemingly mutated with the stalks and fronds of a dill plant. Almost as unusual is its anise or licorice flavor.