Years ago, fennel was one of those mysterious vegetables that I read about, but never cooked. After my mother-in-law prepared them for me the first time in a tagine, I was hooked.
In Morocco, fennel is called bisbas (also spelled besbas). The bulbs have a mild anise flavor that is more prominent when raw, but rather subtle when cooked. This Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Peas and Fennel Recipe is a great way to try fennel if you're not familiar with it. The fragrant nuance of the fennel enhances the ginger and saffron seasoning without overwhelming it.
For the photo above, I prepared the recipe in a pressure cooker, but served the dish in the base of a Moroccan tagine. Like most tagines, it's best eaten with authentic Moroccan Bread for scooping up the meat and vegetables.
Photo © Christine Benlafquih