The best recipes are often the simplest, and cooking with fennel seems to bear this out. The sweetness and delicate anise flavor of fresh fennel is a welcome note in our summer salads. We also enjoy simple salads of thinly sliced fennel dressed with a squeeze of lemon, a splash of olive oil and some salt and pepper (and don't forget to decorate with some snipped fennel fronds!)
I had great luck with my fennel crop this summer after hiding them from ravaging bunnies and voles amidst some spiky pumpkin vines and we enjoyed many delicious fennel salads. After perusing my winter seed catalogs and looking longingly at the fennel page, I recently splurged on some supermarket fennel and tried baking them, similarly dressed, in the oven. They were fantastic! Baked fennel is a meltingly luscious side dish. The anise flavor mellows and a richer roasted taste comes forth when the fennel is cooked, and it makes a wonderful accompaniment to grilled fish.
Fennel Going in the Oven
Simple but Sensational Baked Fennel
2 large bulbs of fennel
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Trim fronds and pithy stalks from fennel. Trim off bottom end. Chop into quarters. Toss with olive oil to coat. Add garlic and toss again to coat. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan.
Place in casserole dish and cover with foil.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes to let edges get CRISPY and browned.
Fennel Coming Out of the Oven
I am sharing this recipe with Maninas: Food Matters, who is this week's host for Weekend Herb Blogging. Now in its 216th week (impressive!)this foodie blogging event started by Kalyn's Kitchen and now headquartered by Haalo at Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once celebrates the fruits, herbs and vegetables that grace good cooks' tables all over the world.