Baked Fennel

by Donna.

It’s spring time.  This week fennel bulb made a return to my weekly fruit and vegetable box.

Last year we greeted the return of spring with a fennel, chili and mint salad – but the weather was warm and like summer.  This year it is cool and raining, like February or March, except brighter.  It is perfect for baked fennel.

This recipe was inspired by Nigel Slater but we simplify it at home, and also scale it up or down depending on how much fennel we have around.  It is super easy, and with the slow cooking in butter and wine it turns so more-ish.  It creates its own liquor (gravy) and we love serving it with roast chicken.  This will turn even the biggest fennel hater into a fennel lover. I promise 🙂

Ingredients

3 bulbs of fennel, chopped into chunks
butter (about a tablespoon or two)
white wine (about a half a glass – but more for the chef)
juice from one lemon
about a half a cup of water
grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

1. Cut fennel into pieces – half, quarter, eighth – until you get bite sized chunks – this helps it to cook faster. 
2. In a Dutch oven or other stove and oven friendly pot, melt a knob of butter.
3. Brown the fennel in the butter.
4. Add white wine, and reduce by about half (simmering).
5. Squeeze lemon, add water (about half a cup).
6. Bake in 180C oven for about 30 minutes, until soft and tender. Keep an eye on the fennel, you don’t want it overly brown – just the edges.
7. Top with grated parmesan and brown to finish under a grill for about 30 seconds.

Enjoy!

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