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Roasted Fennel with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

Serves 4

I was introduced to fennel many years ago and, I must admit that, as a teenager, I was not too fond of it. At the time I was not used to the anise flavor. However, always willing to experiment, and since I use and enjoy the flavor of fennel seed in many preparations, I decided it was time to revisit fennel with this Italian recipe, and I discovered that I love it.

Roasted Fennel Recipe Photo

Fennel can be eaten raw but, as it cooks, the somewhat assertive anise flavor mellows and sweetens. This is a quick, easy, healthy and delicious side dish. See the similar and related recipes links for variations that include carrots or potatoes.

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray or rub a sheet pan or shallow-sided baking dish with olive oil. To prepare the fennel, first cut the stems off the top of the bulbs and set aside. Cut a thin slice off of the root end of the bulbs and discard. Cut the fennel in half vertically through the flatter side of the bulb. Cut each half into about 1/3-inch thick slices. Lay the slices onto the prepared pan, overlapping slightly as needed. Sprinkle with the garlic, salt and pepper, then top with the Parmesan cheese. Drizzle all over with the olive oil. Bake until the fennel is very tender, about 40 minutes. (If you would like the fennel browner, place under a hot broiler for a few minutes. Make certain you have a broiler-safe pan.) Grate a little Parmesan cheese on top, along with the chopped fennel fronds. This is delicious hot, warm or room temperature.