A member of the carrot family, fennel is a highly aromatic herb that tastes similar to anise. Its bulb, foliage and seeds can all be used for cooking; fennel seed is a key ingredient in both Italian sausage and Chinese five-spice powder. We like adding fennel to pasta dishes, salads and cocktails for a unique, refreshing flavor. Braised fennel is an excellent pizza topping, along with caramelized onions and green olives. Fennel-infused Campari with sparkling wine and lemon makes for a pleasantly bitter apertif—and a perfect way to finish off leftover herbs. Find these recipes and more in Food & Wine’s guide to fennel.
Pink peppercorns (no relation to the black or white variety) are slightly spicy but fruity, with a mild citrus taste. Here, they flavor the salt sprinkled on a supereasy vegetable crudo.
Slideshow: More Vegetarian Appetizer Recipes
This Mediterranean vegetable, at its peak in spring and fall, has a strong anise flavor and crisp texture that’s delicious in salads when raw. When cooked, fennel softens and the flavor becomes sweet and mild.