Roasted fennel is tender, sweet and so delicious! Bake this easy side dish under a blanket of melted cheese and the result will be outstanding.
How odd that the same vegetable that lends its light anise licorice flavor and delicate crunch to quick slaws and salads transforms in the oven, becoming milder and sweeter, if previously steamed in milk.
Indeed, even though fennel does taste like anise, with a sweet licorice-like flavor that people tend to either love or despise, once pre-boiled in milk and then roasted, fennel becomes meltingly tender, and its distinctive licorice flavor becomes sweet and muted.
In this recipe, fennel’s natural flavor profile is amplified by these simple adds up: milk and cheese. Make sure to use any cheese that melts well (Asiago cheese, Brie cheese, Gorgonzola cheese (blue cheese) and you’ll get it right.
Asiago cheese cut in thin slices or small cubes to taste
Brie cheese cut I thin slices or small cubes to taste
Optional blue cheese (gorgonzola) to taste
Milk (enough for steaming the fennels)
Trim off the fennel stalks, reserving some of the feathery leaves for garnish. Make a thin slice on the bottom of each bulb to clean the root end, but keep the base intact. Use a vegetable peeler to pare the outer layer of the bulb, removing any discolored and tough, stringy parts. Slice into half inch thick wedges.
Arrange the wedges in a heavy stainless steel lidded pot, pour enough milk to broil the fennel and not burn it. I would say cover approximately an inch of fennel.
Place the pot at medium heat, lid on, and when milk reaches boiling point move to low heat and let simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the fennel becomes tender. In the mean time cut little thin pieces of the cheesed you’d decided to use. The thinner the pieces of cheese, the faster the roasting phase will be. Heat the oven at 400 F֯ (200 C֯).
Once the fennel is done, drain well from the milk, place in a shallow baking dish. Spread all over with cheese cubes and blue cheese crumble.
Bake for 20 minutes at 400 F֯ or until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Place in a nice dish with some of the fennel frond leaves as decoration.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
- If you like baked vegetables check out this recipe for baked cauliflower au gratin, or this lower fat oven roasted veggie mix;
- If like me you appreciate fennel in any way, have you tried serving it sliced with pears?
- Roasted Cheese fennel is a gratin that will have you swooning! (at least that is the effect it has on me and on my skeptical husband that didn’t want to taste it).
- Roasted cheesy fennel it’s perfect as square meal or as side dish with meat or fish.
I am curious, do you like fennel?
Do you like its anise-liquorish aftertaste?
What is your favorite recipe with fennel?
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