*What is fennel?
It's a flowering plant in the carrot family, but yet not a root vegetable. It's actually a perennial herb. Every part of it is edible from the flowers to the seeds to the bulb; even the pollen is collected and used to give an intense fennel flavor to dishes. Most often, however, it's the bulb that's called for in a recipe. When raw, it has a crisp texture similar to celery and a fresh licorice flavor. It caramelizes as it cooks, taking on a sweeter flavor and a tender, lush, melting texture.