So I guess I took a little bit more time off than I thought. But I needed some time to figure out some business decisions. Anyhoo, I digress. . . I love fennel. I really don’t use it as much as I should. Some folks might not be even all that familiar with the vegetable. It kinda looks like a cross between an onion and celery with a frilly wig. Honestly, I think it sorta looks like a muppet (I do have muppets on the brain, after seeing the new Muppet movie and watching A Muppet Christmas Carol all during the holidays. BTW, I recommend both movies!).
What’s nice about fennel is that you can really can use all parts of it — the bulb, the greens, the flowers, the seeds, even the pollen. In this recipe, I just use the greens and the bulb. This recipe is great as a side or a main dish, if you’re feeling vegetarian. I love how roasting these vegetables really brings out the sweetness and intensifies the flavors. But that is the case when you roast any vegetable really. So why not roast some vegetables for dinner? It’s easy to make, there’s not a lot of clean-up, and you get a wonderful flavorful dish! Now I don’t really know where I got this recipe; I know I jotted down some notes on some paper but the principles are pretty much the same with any roasted vegetable recipe.
- 3 – 4 fennel bulbs, with some of the greens reserved.
- 5 – 6 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
- olive oil
- salt & pepper, to taste
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment or some silpat. Place the two racks in the oven on the top and the bottom racks. Now preheat the sheet pans in the oven while you prep the veg.
2. Trim the tops off the fennel so you just have the bulbs. Cut the bulbs in quarters. Then, cut the quarters into thirds on the diagonal so that each wedge has some of the base of the vegetable. Toss the fennel with some olive oil to coat. Do the same with the carrots.
3. Spread the fennel on one of the baking sheets; spread the carrots on the other. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place one sheet on the top rack, the other on the bottom. Roast for 30 minutes, turn the vegetables and then reverse the sheets. Roast for another 30 minutes. Chop the fennel fronds and set aside.
4. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. Toss with fennel fronds and serve.
Notes — Again, this is one of those recipes where these are estimates. Essentially, you just want enough of the vegetables to cover the sheet pans without overcrowding them. If you put too much, they will just steam and not roast, which is fine, if you want steamed vegetables. . . I like to toss the vegetables in a zip top bag. It helps with the clean up and it also helps limit the amount of olive oil you use because really can coat everything with a much smaller amount by closing the top and tossing the vegetables around. Plus if you don’t want to be wasteful, you can wash out the bag and keep it for a later use. . . Be careful — fennel can be gritty so be sure to wash them. They’re not as bad as leeks though. . .