Fennel is quite popular in Italian and Scandinavian cuisines. It can be eaten raw or grilled, baked, braised or sautéed. Choose fresh fennel bulbs that are smooth and tightly layered with no cracks or bruises. Fat, rounded bulbs with white and pale green color will tend to be more succulent than thin or yellow ones. Avoid any with wilted leaves or dried layers.
Fennel has a very distinct anise, or licorice, flavor. It's very crisp and refreshing when raw, but acquires a slight sweetness when slowly cooked. The tall green stalks look like celery with small dill-like leaves at the top. All parts are edible, although the mild, tender bulb is most commonly used and served.