Fennel Gratin

Things are a bit lazy around these parts:

We had a nice long gym session this morning (I did what felt like at least 3,326,359,644 split squats–my quads have never burned so much in my life), ran a bunch of errands, and come home just in time for lunch.  I was leafing through some cookbooks yesterday and found something that looked really promising–fennel gratin.

After hearing a lot about fennel, I bought a giant bulb a few months ago and tried grilling it–and I wasn’t a huge fan.  Just that weird licorice taste I don’t like that much.  Needless to say, when I received three little bulbs in my CSA box this week, I got a little nervous.  So what’s a girl to do with a vegetable she’s not too sure about?

Cover it in cheese.

Fennel Gratin (from Allison Fishman’s You Can Trust A Skinny Cook–serves 4)

  • 2 medium or 3 small bulbs fennel, cut into thin wedges (I also used the stalks, sliced into small circles)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t fresh thyme leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 C shredded Gruyère cheese
  • 1-2 T grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wash the fennel and slice it into wedges by cutting the bulbs in half lengthwise, then into wedges from there.  I also sliced the stalks at this point.  Place into a baking dish (I used a 9″ pie pan) and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cover with foil and place into the oven until the fennel is softened, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove the foil and roast for another 15 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.

Remove the dish from the oven and preheat the broiler.  Sprinkle the top with cheese and return to the oven until the cheese is bubbling and golden, about 3-5 minutes.

Oh gosh, this smelled so good.  The scary fennel taste went from straight-up black licorice (ew) to a slightly oniony, sweet and nutty flavor.

I was so wrong about fennel.  Fritz and I ate this entire dish for lunch (it’s okay–only 110 calories per serving, ya know), and I could have gone for more.  This is the perfect side dish for any fancy dinner (hello, Thanksgiving!).

The best part was obviously the cheese, but I am pleasantly surprised to be able to tell you that I have been converted over to fennelism.  You should try it!

Fritz also managed to capture this handsome guy perched out on our deck.  We have a nice blue jay couple that hangs out in our backyard, accompanied by the duck couple that frequents our pond.  Guess the animals can just tell that love is in the air around here.

And on another exciting note, by popular request, I’m trying out a new feature: printable recipe cards.  I’m putting it here for now, but in the future they’ll be located by the recipe title.  Let me know if they work, and what you’d like to see changed about them!

 Fennel Gratin Printable Recipe Card


Filed under Side Dishes

17 responses to “Fennel Gratin

  1. Love your blog and the recipes! Will definitely be trying this one. Dumb question….how can I follow you? It doesn’t show up on my computer

    • on the top right of the page there should be a “subscribe to this blog” button! it says “want a full measure of happiness in your inbox” or something like that 🙂 let me know if you find it!

  2. Oh yum! I’ve never been a huge fennel fan either but this sounds delish!

  3. First – I love the picture of Henry (he’s adorable as always – unless he’s attacking)
    Second – when I saw your picture of the pre-cooked fennel I thought “Edward VeggieHands”…
    Third – I LOVE the idea of you cooking dinner (here), so let’s make that happen.

    • i think edward veggie hands would love to make an appearance in your house next weekend! 🙂 then can we watch edward scissorhands? ‘Cause I havent seen that in a while, and I KNOW jordi will be down

  4. Oh man this looks SO good. I loveee fennel. Isn’t it amazing how the flavor mellows out when it’s cooked? This recipe looks great, I’ll have to try it soon 🙂

  5. Oh, also, how did the stalks turn out? I’ve always thought about using them but never have. It seems like such a waste to throw them out though! Do they taste like the bulb when they’re cooked?

  6. Kristen

    LOVE the recipe cards

    PS made your strawberry fruit dip today and ate it with red delicious apple slices…soo good.

  7. Awe! Your kitty is the cutest thing EVER!! 🙂

  8. I am not too fond of dear fennel myself, but this could convert me; cheese has magical powers like that.

  9. Joanne G.

    I love fennel… (I’ve never had it with cheese, but will give it a shot.) You should look into making a fennel salad: lots of shaved fennel, thin-sliced red onion, grated parmesan cheese, pine nuts, red-wine vinegar and olive oil. DEE-lish.

  10. First of all, I got round to storing my silantro and mint the way you suggested the other day so thank you. Love the way the bird and your table cloth match. Last but not least, I like fennel pretty much and there is a lot of it here in Italy. My family on the other hand does not love that licorice aftertaste so we make it in grating form quite a lot. Isn’t amazing how that flavor disappears and how sweet and caramelized it turns?

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