Fennel isn't the most popular vegetable, but it is certainly one to try! It's so crunchy and its licorice-leaning flavor is delicious raw, in salads with a citrus vinaigrette, or quick pickled. The flavor mellows significantly when it is cooked. You can roast it in the oven, use it in soups, and one of my favorite preparations is Sauteed Fennel with Parmesan Cheese.
What is fennel?
Fennel is a member of the carrot family although it doesn't grow as a root. It has a slightly licorice flavor that mellows quite a lot when it's cooked. Even people who don't like anise or licorice often find that they love fennel!
The part that is normally eaten is the bulb part at the bottom, but the stalks and feathery leaves are also edible. The stalks are more fibrous and tough and are best added to soups or stocks. You can mix chopped fennel fronds into pestos, salsas, and vinaigrettes for extra freshness. You can use them to top dips, eggs, stir-fries, toasts, and seared meats. They are delicious and beautiful when tossed into green salads or strewn on top of roasted vegetables. Read a lot more about fennel HERE.
Let's prep Sauteed Fennel with Parmesan Cheese
Cut the stalks off and save some of the feathery leaves, then cut the bulb part in half.
Remove the core at the bottom, then slice the bulb into strips.
How to saute fennel
Heat a skillet over medium heat, then add some butter and olive oil. The oil keeps the butter from getting too hot and starting to brown.
You really only want to soften the fennel, charring it just a bit, but not overcook it. Season it well with salt and pepper, then place it on a platter.
Top the sauteed fennel with freshly grated Parmiggiano-Reggiano and some of the reserved fennel fronds. Serve with roasted or grilled meats.
Sauteed Fennel with Parmesan Cheese
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- lemon wedges to squeeze over
- fresh Parmiggiano-Reggiano to grate on the sauteed fennel
- Cut the stalks and fronds from the fennel bulbs. Reserve the fronds for garnish and the stalks to use in a soup or stock.
- Cut the core from the bulbs, then slice them into strips.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat, then add the butter and olive oil.
- Put the fennel strips into the skillet and saute until they are soft and starting to brown.
- Season the sauteed fennel with salt and pepper, then place on a platter. Squeeze lemon juice over, then grate fresh Parmiggiano-Reggiano generously over the fennel.
- Serve with grilled or roasted meats.