I’ve used fennel in many dishes, mainly soups and salads, but I never cooked it as a dish on its own until I discovered a recipe for roasted fennel that I just had to try. It’s very simple yet so exotically delicious. I could make a meal of it.
Fennel has a very strong and distinct anise smell and taste, but once it is roasted, the smell dissipates, and the anise flavor is no longer detectable.
What you’re left with is a savory dish that is truly divine.
This recipe was adapted from one I found on the Chicago Tribune’s website. I omitted the lemon, however, because I forgot to add it the first time I made it. It is awesome with or without it.
2 fennel bulbs (I leave a very small amount of the greens on, too)
4 cloves garlic
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon zest and juice to taste (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut fennel bulbs in half, then place the halves flat side down on cutting board and slice thinly or use a mandoline for more even slices. Thinly slice the white and soft green parts of the leek. Cut garlic clove into quarters. Place fennel, leek and garlic in a baking dish in a single layer. Coat with olive oil. Sprinkle on salt and pepper. Roast in oven for about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven. Optional: Sprinkle lemon zest and juice on top of the fennel, toss before serving. Serve immediately.
Original recipe: http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/food/sc-food-0408-simple-fennel-20110413,0,769138.story