A quick sear in a little butter caramelizes the fennel wedges and mellows their licorice notes, while braising in stock transforms the texture from crunchy to meltingly tender, almost velvety. Breadcrumbs spiked with nutty Parm-Reg top off this fast, supersimple side. Pair with quickly seared pork chops or roasted chicken thighs.
3 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and halved lengthwise
Cut each fennel half into 3 wedges. Melt 2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel; cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add wine, stock, salt, pepper, and thyme sprigs; bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until tender. Increase heat to medium-high; cook, uncovered, 1 minute or until liquid is slightly thickened. Remove thyme sprigs from pan; discard.
Melt remaining 2 teaspoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs; cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat; stir in parsley and cheese. Arrange fennel wedges on a platter. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over fennel.
This dish really delighted me because I don't usually make fennel the star. This dish tastes of spring and evokes a hint of yummy gratin. It wasn't my husband's favorite, but I thought it was a solid side dish that breaks up the boredom of using our usual vegetables. I plan to make this recipe many more times.