Creamy Baked Fennel




I have always loved fennel and the licorice taste that lingers around while eating it. Funny thing, I despise eating black licorice, I mean I almost gag at just the thought of it. But I love fennel in the worst way.  Especially in soups.  I truly think it is one of those spot on flavors that I just REALLY LIKE.  Most people probably like it, or they don't. I can see it being one of those cut and dry type tastes.

Anyway, baked fennel sounded good, and creamy baked fennel mixed with Parmesan sounded even better.  It's a great winter side dish and it went well with pork tenderloin. I think it would also be nice with baked ham or seafood. Oh heck it would be good with anything. It has a clean, rich taste, if that even makes sense. I guess if you've never had fennel that would not make sense...but to me, it does.

Overall, I'll make it again, when I find myself with some extra fennel bulbs.  Which is often.

Ciao!  (I always wanted to say that.)


Core and cut fennel bulbs into strips. Reserve some of the fennel fronds for garnish.


In a large nonstick skillet, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Add the fennel bulb strips, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.


Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes.  Add the fennel seeds and lemon peel, cover and let steep for 3 minutes.


Strain cream mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish.


Stir in the cooked fennel bulb strips and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 Parmesan cheese and bake at 450 degrees until brown and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes.


Sprinkle with fennel fronds for garnish.

Print Recipe

Creamy Baked Fennel

Recipe from: Cathy Pollak | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large or 3 small fennel bulbs, cored and cut into strips, plus 2 Tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1-1/4 cups grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  • Core and cut fennel bulbs into strips. Reserve some of the fennel fronds for garnish.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the fennel bulb strips, cover and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring frequently, until the water has evaporated, about 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to about 2/3 cup, about 3 minutes. Add the fennel seeds and lemon peel, cover and let steep for 3 minutes. Strain cream mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Stir in the cooked fennel bulb strips and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with the remaining 3/4 Parmesan cheese and bake until brown and bubbly, about 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel fronds for garnish.

One Year Ago: 
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Post a Comment

43 Comments and 1 Reply

  1. I thought this was mac and cheese when I first saw the picture! I’ve never had fennel, so this looks interesting.

    Reply
  2. Debbie 2

    Looks very delicious. I have never had fennel this way. Usually just add the seeds to a recipe. I need to try this…

    Reply
  3. This looks absolutely delicious. I love the flavor of fennel, but have never prepared it alone. Have to give this a try.

    Reply
  4. Barbie with a T 4

    Lands O’Goshen! That looks absolutely delectable. I love fennel boiled with spaghetti, but this dish tops that for sure. Beautiful photos too. I will not rest until I have some!

    Reply
  5. Barbie with a T 5

    At what temperature did you bake that dish???

    Reply
  6. Alta 6

    See, these are dishes that make me think “Why, oh why does my husband detest au gratin style dishes?” (yes, even potatoes au gratin) This looks delicious. Might just have to make some for myself!

    Reply
  7. Tammy 7

    I drink fennel tea occasionally, but have never eaten it. This looks like a tasty recipe.

    Reply
  8. Helen 8

    Yum that looks nice . You must be the best food photographer ( and cook ) I’ve encountered in the bloggy world. I want to try everything I see on your blog. I’ll add this to my “to do” list.
    Cheers
    Helen

    Reply
  9. Liz C. 9

    I can’t begin to tell you how delicious this looks & sounds. You are one amazing cook… along with everything else.

    So, I’m thinking bake this at 350 degrees F? Or is that too hot?

    Reply
  10. Noble Pig 10

    Bake at 450 degrees.

    Reply
  11. I’m always looking for a flavorful new side dish. I can imagine how delicious this is.

    Reply
  12. Noble Pig 12

    450 degrees.

    Reply
  13. Dawn 13

    I love fennel too and with cheese, yes!

    Reply
  14. that is such a wonderful thing…

    Beautiful pictures, very clear step by step instructions. Loving this post

    Reply
  15. June 15

    Fennel’s kind of a forgotten veggie which is such a shame, because it is delicious. This looks amazing!

    Reply
  16. What a wonderful way to prepare fennel! It’s a great side dish!

    Reply
  17. Trisha 17

    Okay – normally your recipes make my mouth water in anticipation. Today – not quite! I absolutely HATE fennel and licorice and everything that tastes vaguely like that. It looks good but the idea of eating it . . .

    Reply
  18. “Grrrrr…” was my reaction when I saw the title. And it was “Grrrr…” in a I-want-to-get-my-hands-on-some kind of way. I love fennel (I also love black licorice, but that’s beside the point), and this looks like a divine way to prepare it. Thanks! :)

    Reply
  19. MaryMoh 19

    I love fennel but so far only make apple and fennel juice….refreshing and delicious. But this creamy fennel dish just wins me over. I have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  20. Lisa 20

    This sounds so interesting. I despise black licorice but recently ordered some absinthe because of its history and drama. I think fennel would challenge my taste preferences in a similar way. It is a bit exotic and seems so right for winter, especially with cream and parmesan.

    Reply
  21. HoneyB 21

    I have never had fennel – I really should try it to see if I like it. I know I like fennel seed in my spaghetti sauce and I like licorice….

    Reply
  22. I have yet to cook fennel. I must fix that very soon.

    Reply
  23. Janine 23

    I LOVE fennel… I am making curried french lentil soup this weekend for our gourmet group which needs a fennel bulb. I am going to buy extra for Sunday supper!!

    Reply
  24. Bob 24

    I’ve never been a big fennel fan, but then I’ve never had it like that before. It sure looks good!

    Reply
  25. Biz 25

    I am going to give fennel another try – and this may be the dish!

    I always appreciate you stopping by my tiny blog!

    Have an awesome weekend! 😀

    Reply
  26. Nell 26

    I adore fennel. My husband, not so much. This might make him change his mind though. And, heck, if not…More for me!!

    Reply
  27. Oh, I hate liquorice, especially living in the Netherlands where drop (salty liquorice) is all the rave BUT I LOVE Fennel. I recently made a creamy fennel soup and served it with store-bought mini gnocchi. With a portion of the leftovers I plan on ‘saucing’ and serving with pasta and with another portion, I’ll make a fish bake…with the fennel shoots!!!!!!!

    Reply
  28. lo 28

    What a lovely gratin. I’m completely enrapt by fennel — especially when it’s been roasted into a bit of submission. This looks fabulous — love the touch of lemon in there!

    Reply
  29. Maria in Oregon 29

    Wow! That looks yummy! Fennel is so good in soups and stews – I want to try this. Thank goodness it’s Friday. I’m going to cook this weekend!

    Reply
  30. Lena in VT 30

    I love fennel while despising black licorice as well. This looks like a wonderful way to serve this veggie.

    Reply
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    Reply
  32. Janet 32

    I have recently discovered your site and am incredibly impressed, not only with the terrific recipes, but with the photography as well! I am one person who is not a fennel lover but I will definitely keep tuning in for wonderful ideas for dinner!

    Reply
  33. Kim 33

    I’ve just got to say I loveeee your website. I lokk at dozens a week but your recipes and pictures just make me want to run right to my kitchen and reproduce them. Everything you make makes my mouth water. I’ve be reading your blog for almost a year and enjoy it very much. Those boys of yours are the cutest. Keep it up. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  34. Amber 34

    I think it sounds rich and interesting. I just wonder what the kids thought. Well maybe one of them.

    Reply
  35. pam 35

    Fennel is something I don’t make nearly often enough.

    Reply
  36. Lydia 36

    I’m just learning to love fennel, either cooked in a dish like this, or raw, sliced paper thin on a mandoline, in a salad.

    Reply
  37. grace 37

    i absolutely don’t like licorice or fennel, but look at that cheesiness! that, combined with some luscious cream and i think the taste may be tolerable! great idea for a dish, cathy!

    Reply
  38. LilSis 38

    I think it’s funny how you said the thought of it almost makes you gag. That’s exactly the way I feel if I smell licorice or see anyone eating those disgusting red licorice thingamajigs.

    For some reason, though, I also love fennel in soups. I’ve never thought of baking it and actually serving it as a side, but this creamy cheesy dish really makes me want to try it.

    Reply
  39. Kate 39

    That is such an awesome idea! Yummy! I love red licorice and I love fennel, but you are right, black licorice is nasty! Thanks for the recipe

    Reply
  40. I’m with you–dislike black licorice, love fennel. This is a keeper.

    Reply
  41. Wow! I just came across your blog via foodblogs.com! Finding your blog is the find of the month! Beautiful posts, cooking and photography! You’re now going on my blogroll! Keep cooking! 😉

    Reply
  42. Barbara 42

    I, too, can’t stand the taste of black licorice. That’s what has always stopped me from trying fennel….but this looks SO good. Can anyone tell me just how strong of a licorice taste there is? I don’t want to make it only to throw it away.

    Reply
  43. Tracy Caldwell 44

    This was absolutely delicious!!! I am not a black licorice fan either so I really didn’t know what to expect but I cannot wait to make it again for everyone I bragged about it to! Thanks for opening my eyes!! You are amazing!

    Reply

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