Crunchy Baked Fennel

  • 10 medium fennel bulbs, halved, cored, and sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Got a surplus of fennel, or just looking for a new way to enjoy this unique root vegetable?  This toasty and tasty dish pairs the sweet fennel with crunchy panko breadcrumbs, nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and fragrant shallots for an explosion of flavor!

Preheat oven to 375°F.  On two large rimmed baking sheets, drizzle the fennel with 1/4 cup of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper.  Bake for 30 minutes or until softened.  Let cool for 30 minutes.  In a skillet, toast the panko over moderate heat until golden, about 3 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano and flour.  In the same skillet, melt the butter.  Add garlic, shallots and thyme and cook over medium heat until the garlic is softened, about 5 minutes.  Add this mixture to the panko.  Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup of oil and the parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mixture should be moist but not mushy, and add more olive oil if needed.  Increase oven to 400°F.  Spread half the fennel in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Pour wine over the fennel, then sprinkle half of the panko on top.  Repeat with the remaining fennel and panko.  Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes longer, until the topping is browned and crisp.  Serve hot.