The first time I saw a fennel bulb, I had no idea what to do with it. Looking like deformed celery, it was intimidating and mystifying. I've since learned to love this faintly licorice-flavored vegetable, both as the star of a dish as in this shaved fennel and celery salad or in a supporting role in recipes like Italian stuffed peppers or cioppino. It turns out to be versatile -- it's great braised or roasted as well as raw -- and easy to use, once you get past the forbidding appearance. You should try it.
Image © Dave Scantland