I am almost late to meet a friend for lunch today because I'm learning about sea fennel, and how it differs from wild fennel (used to flavor sea bass, lubina in Mallorca).
I've loved traipsing through wild herbs on my various travels—chamomile in the Swiss Alps, sage on Cretan hillsides, capers (if they count as herb) on the Italian island near to Africa, Pantelleria, juniper berries in New Mexico, below the line of caves at Tsankawi that I used to climb to on New Year's Eve, the last day of the year, a kind of ritual, before returning home to Santa Fe for a bowl of posole heartened with deep red chili pods. Caves like sunflowers, their faces to the sun. Juniper found also in the Val d'Aosta, Roman territory, seasoning October's wild boar.
I have inadvertently given one of my characters the name of fennel, from his birthplace, Fonoll in Catalan. It flavors him nicely.
I find a recipe for roasted sea bass with fennel, blood oranges, and olives, and am set dreaming about dinner, leaving my characters to fend for themselves.
image: Sea Fennel, nurturedinnorfolk.co.uk