Take a drive throughout southern Italy and you’re likely to see wild fennel growing all around. Along the side of the road, atop rocky outcroppings, throughout a grassy field, it’s practically a weed, as common to the landscape as dandelions are in Michigan. The bulb looks like an oblong base of a bunch of celery. Thin stalks shoot towards the sky waving feathery fine leaves that remind me of dill.
Eaten raw its flavor is sweet and anise-like. Yet it doesn’t make dishes taste like licorice. It’s a light, bright, slightly sweet flavor that pairs beautifully with delicate meals like fish or salads.
Since we’re not in southern Italy and wild fresh fennel only available a short time anyway, this sauce is a delicious alternative. It gives your cooking the bright flavors fennel is famous for in an easy to use sauce. Dollop on fresh baked fish or lighter flavored meats like poultry. Or toss with your favorite pasta and a tin of tuna.