Braised Fennel with Panko & Parmesan
2 medium fennel bulbs
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. chicken stock
1/4 c. filtered water
1/3 c. panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
parsely for garnish (optional)
salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Slice off the tops of fennel (fennel fronds) and the bottom 1/4" off the base. Remove the very outer layer of the bulb and discard. Slice fennel bulbs lengthwise into 1/3" thick slices. Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan and, working in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan, sear both sides until lightly brown and caramelized, seasoning with salt and pepper as you work. Return all the fennel to the pan and add in the stock and water. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and let braise for 15 minutes or until fork tender.
While fennel is braising, heat butter in a saute pan over medium-low heat. Once melted, add panko and toast, stirring constantly. Season well with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the braised fennel to a baking dish. Top with the toasted breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. Place in oven (or alternatively under the broiler) for a few minutes or until the top browns. Top with a little fresh parsley and serve.
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