A hot oven mellows the flavor of raw fennel and caramelizes its sugars, making it even more delicious.
If you've never roasted this vegetable, here's a simple recipe to get you started. Add whatever herbs, spices, and seasonings you like.
Roasted Fennel Recipe
I love putting roasted fennel on Sausage Pizza. You could also serve this roasted fennel as a side dish or mix it into cooked pasta.
Makes. About 2 cups
Takes. 5 minutes prep. 25 minutes roasting.
1 1/2 pounds (680 g) fennel bulbs
1/4 cup (59 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (1.25 g) fresh thyme or oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon (0.25 g) freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon (0.25 g) red pepper flakes
1) Fire up. Heat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
2) Prep. Cut the fennel bulbs into quarters lengthwise, then cut out the cores from each piece. With the cores gone, cut each piece of fennel lengthwise into slices about 1/8 inch (0.3 cm) thick. You’ll end up with a bunch of short fennel strips.
3) Move the fennel into a medium bowl and squeeze in the juice from the lemon (through your other hand to catch the seeds). Cut the lemon rind into 4 pieces and drop them in the bowl. Add the oil, thyme, salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Mix well to coat everything. Taste a piece of fennel and add any seasoning if you think it needs it.
4) Roast the fennel. Lay the seasoned fennel on a sheet pan in a single layer. Place in the oven and cook until the fennel is tender and lightly browned at the tips, 25 to 30 minutes, stirring now and then to prevent burning. When done, let the fennel cool on the pan.
5) Serve. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat any leftover fennel as a vegetable side dish or mix it into pasta.
This article and recipe have been adapted with permission from Mastering Pizza by Marc Vetri and David Joachim (Ten Speed Press, 2018).