I never even heard of fennel until I was an adult, and I don't believe I tasted it until well into my 40's. Thank goodness that first taste of this vegetable (which sort of looks like a cross between a giant leek and celery, with a bushy head of dill weed on top) was in Italy. The Italians know what to do with vegetables: simply roast them until they caramelize. It was love at first bite.
Since then, I've used them a lot in my own cooking. I'm happy that I introduced my mother to fennel (she loved licorice, so it was an instant match.) My stand-by risotto is in fact Fennel Risotto (which is yummy, if I do say so myself.) I hadn't had any in a long while (they didn't serve roasted fennel in the Golden Living Rehab Center, funny enough) so the more I thought about the recipe, the more I craved them.
So, I made "Parmegianno Roasted Fennel & Carrots" today, and boy, did they hit the spot! They were also beautiful to behold (I regret I didn't take a picture before I dove into them.)
So, here is the recipe:
PECORINO-ROASTED FENNEL & CARROTS (okay, right off the bat I substituted Parmigiano Reggiano, which I had, for Pecorino; it worked!)
- 3-4 fennel bulbs, cored, sliced horizontally, plus 2 tsp
- 3-4 large carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/3-inch
- 2 tsp Herbes de Provence
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (I used
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, because I had it, and because I thought it would add to the taste. . . it did!)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 13 x 9 inch
baking dish. Layer sliced fennel and carrots in dish, sprinkling layers with
salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Herbes, then cheese. Drizzle with the oil. Bake
until veggies are tender and top is golden brown, about 1 1/4 hours. Sprinkle
with fronds and serve. (Great with roast chicken, fish, or just about anything!) (I found this recipe on line, "adapted from Bon Appetit via
I admit that made a smaller portion just for myself (using one fennel bulb and adjusting accordingly.) The roasting made the veggies soft and sweet, and the seasonings just melted into the nutty, slightly licorice-y taste of the fennel. The carrot bits were a good foil for the fennel.
Kind of makes me want to paint a picture of it!
So, that was my snow day treat!