Fennel, with its faint licorice flavor, is often shredded or thinly sliced and made into salads or side dishes. The raw green and white bulb and the feathery fronds can also be cooked.
You can find it in Mediterranean dishes like fried fennel, braised fennel or pasta with fennel. When fennel is roasted, it takes on a subtle, sweet flavor. The first time I tasted it, I was hooked.
This recipe requires little work, other than stirring, and produces a magical result. I have served this to guests who don't like licorice, and they never detect that flavor once it is roasted.
I like to serve this as a side dish to any grilled or roasted entree. Make sure the fennel is soft and caramelized, otherwise it can taste woody.
Use a shallow roasting pan to give the vegetables plenty of room for even roasting. You can double or triple the recipe. But you may need two pans to give the vegetables enough room to brown.
This dish may be prepared up to 4 hours ahead, kept at room temperature and reheated in a 350 degree oven, 15 minutes.
Combine leftover fennel with vegetable stock, heat, puree and serve as a soup.
Prep: 25 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
4 fennel bulbs, sliced into eighths, fronds reserved
1 leek, light green and white part only, finely chopped
10 cloves garlic, halved
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
Zest of one lemon and 1 teaspoon juice
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine fennel, leek, garlic, oil, salt and pepper to taste in a shallow roasting pan; toss to coat fennel evenly. Roast fennel, stirring midway through cooking, until softened, nicely browned and caramelized, about 40 minutes.
3. Add lemon zest and juice; toss to coat. Place in serving dish; garnish with fennel fronds.
Per serving: 126 calories, 47% of calories from fat, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 15 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 182 mg sodium, 5 g fiber.