Originating in the Mediterranean region and associated with Italian cuisine, fennel has been used as a vegetable, a herb, and a medicinal plant since ancient times. Its mild, slightly sweet flavor is reminiscent of anise or licorice. Fennel may be used raw or cooked, it can be braised or sautéed with other vegetables or on its own. Sea bass with fennel is a specialty in Provence. Raw fennel is an excellent source of potassium.