Roasted fennel with grated parmesan makes a great fennel appetizer or side dish. It’s certain to add some excitement to your taste buds.
Where to find Fennel
If you have a garden, you may be fortunate enough to grow some fennel. Otherwise you at the mercy of your grocer and fennel may be hard to find certain times of the year. Fall and winter seasons are peak times for fennel because most commercial fennel comes from Arizona and California. In northern climates you can grow fennel starting in the spring and farmers markets should have some mid summer. The price of fennel seems to vary from $3.00 to $4.00 per bulb.
You are probably familiar with fennel seed and the licorice flavor it gives Italian sausage. I like adding fennel seed to spaghetti sauce to get that flavorful bite.
Well, that is the seeds of the fennel plant. The bulb has a different taste. It is more like celery with anise and has a nice nutty flavor. It is tough, but when baked, the nutty flavors really come forward. The bulb slabs soften and the melted Parmesan cheese creates a nice crust.
You will find fennel bulb used in soups and stews for it’s nice flavor. My recipe for Shrimp and Italian Sausage Stew uses fennel in it and the anise flavor of the fennel really comes through.
Grab yourself a couple fennel bulbs and prep them for a great fennel appetizer.
Cleaning Fennel and Prepping
Chop the stems off the bulb and cut off the root, (about 1/2 inch from the bottom). Peel off the outermost layer of the bulb. This layer is quite tough. The bulb may have some dirt near the root end so this should be rinsed under cold water then patted dry.
Use a sharp knife to slice the bulb lengthwise into 1/4 to 1/3 inch slabs.
If you notice, the fennel is on my walnut Boos Block cutting board. I keep it well oiled and I love it! Check out Boos Blocks here. (#ad).
Lightly spray a large baking pan with cooking oil, lay out the fennel slabs in a single layer, and sprinkle with salt, pepper and some extra virgin olive oil.
Grate Parmesan cheese over the fennel. I used a Microplane grater to get a very fine grate on the cheese.
Place in preheated 375° F, (190° C), oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the cheesy fennel is nicely browned.
Garnish with fennel fronds. Serve hot as an appetizer or as a side dish. I’m sure everyone will be surprised at the great taste of these.
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Roasted(Baked) Fennel with Parmesan cheese
- 2 fennel bulbs
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, fine grated
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, (190° C).
- Cut stem and root off the fennel bulb.
- Remove outer layer of fennel bulb and rinse with cold water if you notice some soil. Pat dry.
- Slice lengthwise into 1/4 to 1/3 inch slabs.
- Place in greased sheet pan in one layer.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and good olive oil
- Grate or sprinkle Parmesan cheese on fennel slices.
- Bake in oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the fennel is nicely browned.
- Serve hot
- Nutrition information based on 4 servings made with 2 fennel bulbs.
- The size of fennel bulbs varies greatly so try to find some good sized bulbs. 3 inches wide or more.
- Recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentiis.