‘Tis the season for foraging wild fennel in Sicily. Not to be confused with the bulb fennel we have in our supermarkets in the United States, wild fennel is mostly fronds (the fern-like leaves), and it contains the best flavor when it is young.
One finds wild fennel in the mountains and countryside. A keen eye can easily distinguish it from other spring growth. Cooks love it for pasta con le sarde (pasta with sardines) and other creative combinations, to season pasta, fish, and more. Its fragrant smell and anise/liquorice flavor is wonderful. The season is now and it is short… So, if you want to taste it, plan to travel to Sicily (in the future) around St. Joseph’s Day (March 19), when this ingredient is most prevalent on tables.