Parmesan Crusted Roast Fennel

by @uncomplicatedchef
4 servings
50 min

What is your favorite side dish? My husband and I love fennel. The sweet slightly anise flavored vegetable is perfect cooked multiple ways. This Parmesan Crusted Roast Fennel is sure to become one of your favorites.

I love the full sensory experience of fennel. Every part of the vegetable is aromatic. Just brushing the delicate fronds releases the perfume. Slicing into the bulb instantly fills the air with its sweetness. Fennel is one of those foods that perfectly balances the flavors of sweet and savory.

Simple Elegance

Fennel is truly a special ingredient. From the seeds in the flowers to the tender white bulb, every part of it is edible. It’s what gives Italian sausage its distinct flavor. If you’ve ever tried absinthe in a cocktail, it’s part of the spellbinding flavor. This Parmesan Crusted Roast Fennel is an elegant easy way to add it to your cooking repertoire.

My husband and I love adding raw fennel to our salads. It offers up a sweet bite and adds a crunch that’s irresistible. It’s also a sweet addition to stews or braised on its on. However this recipe allows the fennel to shine on its own while being given the perfect accent.

Roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness while intensifying their flavors. It also offers up the balance of tender while still remaining crisp.

Highlighting this aromatic vegetable is a crunchy herbaceous crown of delicate breadcrumbs. The combination of lemony thyme, nutty Parmesan, and bright garlic adds depth and texture.

Slicing into Parmesan Crusted Roast Fennel

Preparing and roasting this dish couldn’t be easier. This side dish is ideal for a weeknight dinner while also being a beautiful addition to any holiday meal. Let’s go step by step.

  • Preheat your oven to 350.

  • Trim and quarter your fennel. Make sure to save the fronds. They can be added to other dishes.

  • Evenly coat your fennel in olive oil. You can either drizzle it on or use a brush.

  • Mix together your breadcrumb topping. Make sure you’re using freshly grated parmesan. It makes a huge difference in flavor and texture.

  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until the fennel is tender and the topping is golden brown.

Simple, easy, and delicious! If you’re looking for the perfect main coarse to serve with this, check out my recipe for Decadent Beef Shank Osso Buco.

Parmesan Crusted Roast Fennel
Recipe details
  • 4  servings
  • Prep time: 10 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 50 min
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  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and quartered
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh thyme, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place fennel quarters in a baking dish. Evenly coat in olive oil. Use a brush if your prefer.
Combine the breadcrumbs, garlic, Parmesan, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
Sprinkle the Parmesan mixture over the fennel quarters.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until the fennel is fork tender and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
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  • Carol Bardi Carol Bardi on Jan 16, 2022

    Looks very good, will be making it real soon.

  • MH MH on Jan 20, 2022

    I made this with some substitutions and it came out delicious! First of all, instead of putting the fennel in first and then brushing the rest, I just combined everything well in a bowl and then baked it. And then, instead of the ¼ cup olive oil, I used ½ cup canola oil. And instead of the ½ cup breadcrumbs, I used 2 cups self-rising flour. And instead of the ¼ cup parmesan, I used 1 cup milk and ½ cup water. And instead of the garlic and black pepper, I used ¾ cup cocoa and 2 tsp vanilla. Finally, instead of the fennel, I used two eggs. It was fabulous!