Photo: Ajna Jai / Contributor
Fennel is not one of most people’s favorite vegetables. For years, it wasn’t mine either. My understanding and fondness for the true glory of fennel blossomed the year of the pandemic. Knopp branch farm delivered us 400 pounds of fennel that April since they were unable to sell it to other restaurants. I went about beginning to understand how to use this spring bulb so abundant during spring in Texas. This is when I realized that when slow braised or roasted, fennel mellows into a sweet creamy flavorful vegetable. You can add it to salads, soups or even rice dishes. In this savory decadent tart, the addition of mushrooms brings an earthy note. It is best to bake the tart a few hours or the day before serving it. Serve it warm or room temperature with a fresh tomato soup or salad.