Fennel is classified in the vegetable category as a root. The unique anise-like flavor adds wonderfully to the taste of salads and appetizers. You must be careful to not shave the fennel too thickly. When fennel is thick it is woody and very difficult to bite and chew. Shaving fennel is the recommended method to include the delightful flavor of licorice and crispy texture to the pallet and the teeth.
You do not need to be a master chef skilled with the finest knives to shave fennel. As a matter of fact a knife is probably the worst choice when shaving fennel because an accident can occur. Fennel can instead be impressively shaved with nothing more than a vegetable peeler or a mandolin slicer. Either of these tools is easy to find in most kitchens and if you do not have one, they are equally easy to find in your local grocery or department store for a reasonable price.
If a mandolin slicer is to be used, the following process can be performed. The first thing to do is to trim the base from the bulb then halve the fennel. Remove the core and discard or keep for stock. Once you have the cleaned fennel put the flat surface on the mandolin slicer and move it smoothly back and forth. If the slices are too thick you can adjust the blade until it is just right and perfectly thin. Use a flowing motion to move the fennel over the slicer to shave it. Let the shaved slices of fennel drop onto the cutting board from the bottom side of the mandolin slicer held at an angle. Be careful to use the hand guard so that your knuckle doesn't also get shaved.
When you only have the benefit of a vegetable peeler the way to shave the fennel is a bit different. The fennel will first need to have the base removed as with the mandolin slicer method. Cut the fennel into quarters and remove the core. Hold the fennel in hand and move the vegetable peeler over the surface shaving each strip off until it is too difficult to hold the quarter. Do this with each of the quarters of fennel.
Once the fennel has been shaved to aromatic and flavorful anise perfection the thin slices can be easily added to a variety of different salad or appetizer choices to give a singularly positive impression to your family or guests.