Parmesan Fennel Gratin

It’s Meatless Monday and I don’t know about you but I’m always on the hunt for a tasty side dish that can be paired with a Meatless Main – this Parmesan Fennel Gratin is a superb choice! What is a gratin you ask? A gratin is a dish with a lightly browned crust of breadcrumbs and/or melted cheese. In this dish we combine panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and parmesan to make a crunchy and cheesy topping to the braised fennel. Fennel is one of my favorite winter vegetables and this dish provides the perfect blend of textures and flavors! The best part about this dish is that you braise the fennel and brown the topping all in the same dish so cleanup is a breeze!


Parmesan Fennel Gratin
 
Ingredients
  • 3 medium fennel bulbs
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ⅓ cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¾ cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove the stalks from each fennel bulb and discard. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise through the core. Remove most (but not all) of the core by cutting a V-shaped wedge, leaving the wedges intact. Cut each piece into 2, 3, or 4 wedges, depending on the size of the bulb. Arrange the wedges, cut side up, in a gratin dish just large enough to hold them snugly in a single layer. Pour the chicken stock and wine over the fennel, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt and ¾ teaspoon of pepper. Dot with the diced butter. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the fennel is tender.
  3. Remove from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, make the topping. Combine the melted butter, panko, Parmesan, parsley, zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle evenly on top and return to the oven. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Serve hot or warm.