Fennel go figure, right? Not too many cooks know the delicious flavor of fennel. Most of the time, I have seen it used as a salad, shredded along with carrot, topped with orange slices, olive oil and plumped 'steamed' raises or prunes. This of course is an excellent summer time salad. However, not too often do I encounter cooked fennel as a side or main vegetarian course.
Finocchi Brasati is wonderful dish; because, it is cooked slowly in a liquid of olive oil, chicken stock, vermouth or white wine, a little sambuca (or not as this is a strong liqueur) flavored with garlic, onion or scallions, bay leaves, raisins and or figs with apricots, salt and black pepper. To begin, I like to saute the fennel in olive oil along with the garlic and onion til browned on all sides. Then add the other remaining ingredients 'braising' uncovered on low heat; this can also be done on the grill or in the broiler.
Finocchio Gulasch is truly a taste of Italy. Especially, now as zucchini are heavy with ripeness. Simple to prepare and cook in no time at all as it is a skillet goulash. Saute onion in olive oil til caramelizing appears; remove from heat so that you can clean and slice fresh orange, also wash and quarter zucchini and fennel... adding to the skillet. Return the skillet to the heat and add fresh tomato or 1 can of diced tomatoes. Finish with sea salt and some fresh dried oregano and parsley. Simmer for about 10 min on med heat or low depending on your heat source, gas/electric.