Fennel grows wild on many Greek islands, and the fresh leaves are used abundantly in many local dishes. The plant also produces seeds that closely mimic the fragrance of anise. In addition to their persistent licorice flavor, wild fennel seeds are pleasantly fresh, with hints of menthol, reminiscent of caraway.
In Mediterranean cooking, fennel is often paired with tomatoes or lemons, used as a base in vegetable dishes, and is great with fish or pulses. Wild fennel marries especially well with salted breads, focaccia or home-made crackers. It can also be served, in small quantities, in shortbread recipes or scones. Coupled with herbs and lemon zest, Greek fennel enhances roast pork or lamb. Steeped in hot water, It’s also a soothing drink.