The delicate licorice flavour of fennel sings when paired with Parmesan. Real Parmigiano-Reggiano, though pricey, adds the richest flavour to this simple baked side dish.
2 fennel bulbs (3 lb/1.35 kg total)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Remove fennel stalks; chop fronds and set aside for garnish.
Cut fennel in half lengthwise and core.
Cut lengthwise into generous 1/4-inch (5 mm) thick slices.
In large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook fennel, covered, until tender, about eight minutes.
Drain; chill under cold water. Drain on towels.
Place fennel in 13- x 9-inch (3 L) baking dish or casserole dish.
Add oil, salt and pepper; toss gently to coat. (Make-ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to five hours.)
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake in 400°F (200°C) oven until hot, about 15 minutes.
Broil until cheese is crisp, about 2 minutes. Garnish with reserved fennel fronds.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Recipe from Canadian Living's The International Collection: Home-Cooked Meals From Around The World.