I don’t like black liquorish! But I love fennel!
A lot of people do and as many don’t, so I never thought I would come to love fennel, it is a lovely vegetable to use fresh in salads, and its taste changes dramatically when baked, braised or roasted, my favorite is the method below or a variant, depending on what I have on hand.
It is so delicious, that all my kids love it and those that don’t know it, come to know it and respect it, even enjoy its complex flavors. It is a strange vegetable to work with, but easy and satisfying, it also needs very little ingredients to make it a wonderful side dish.
3 bulbs Fennel, cleaned and sliced in ½-inch segments
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of one orange
1 c. dry white wine
1 tbsp. bacon fat or olive oil
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. smoked paprika
½ c. grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Place butter and bacon fat in the baking dish and set in the oven to melt for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and layer the sliced fennel carefully, getting as much of them flat against the bottom. Sprinkle with salt, black pepper and smoke paprika. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and lower the oven temperature to 275 ° F.
Flip the slices of fennel, pour in the wine and orange juice, place back in the oven and cook for another 20 minutes, add parmesan and place back in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes more, checking for doneness, the fennel should be al dente, like pasta, not mushy.