Friday, April 12, 2013

The Licorice 'Cousins'

Though I typically shun "national food holidays" - click to read that previously posted rant - I made an exception for today. Happy National Licorice Day!

I happily packaged up bags of licorice candies for a few of my favorite people and planned a dinner that was heavy on some licorice-relatives: fennel and anise. Those recipes will be posted later.

In case that flavor-family confuses you, here's a brief run-down...

Although they share a similar taste profile—reminiscent of black licorice—and both belong to the Apiaceae family, fennel and anise are actually two different plants. Though, adding to the confusion, what we call fennel, here in California, is often (mis)labeled as anise in other parts of the country and the world. However, if you're eating the bulb, stalks, and fronds of the plant, more than likely, it's fennel. Normally the seeds of the anise plant are all that is consumed. [Click to read a post I did on anise seeds previously.] Let me add to the confusion for a second; there is also Chinese anise, sometimes called star anise. And it is not related at all, but does offer a similar flavor to the anise seed. Oye!

Here's a recipe round-up of a few of my favorite recipes using these licorice cousins... [Click titles to go to the recipe.]

Orange-Fennel Mostarda
Anise-Kissed Clafoutis
Anise-Kissed Clafoutis

Fennel Pollen
Salted Fennel Pollen Shortbread

Star Anise
Star anise and other spices for my Moroccan Rose Harissa

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