Roasted fennel and mushrooms is a tempting dish that can serve as a side dish or light lunch
Mary Bilyeu | Contributor
I adore fennel, but don't know many others who do — all the more for me, I guess, but I really think it's unfortunate that more people aren't fans of this fabulous vegetable.
It has a fragrance and taste similar to anise, which is similar to black licorice. It's crisp and crunchy when raw, and perfect in a slaw with cabbage. It bakes and braises beautifully, becoming tender and fragrant.
I haven't eaten fennel in ages, so a craving was starting to creep in. I thought I'd roast it, and then — on a whim — I decided to toss some mushrooms in as well, roasting them right along with the fennel and letting their juices combine with the oil and wine I'd use for a bit of added flavor.
This dish turned out so beautifully, even better than I'd hoped for! The house smelled so wonderful as it cooked, tempting me as I waited impatiently.
As a side dish, the fennel and mushrooms could accompany steak, chicken, fish or pork; they could also be served over pasta for an entree. And you could just eat them on their own, for a light lunch. It's a perfect dish that goes anywhere!
Roasted Fennel and Mushrooms
2 fennel bulbs
10 ounces medium-sized white mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons dry white wine
pinch of kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon Mrs. Dash or other all-purpose seasoning
1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Grana Padano cheese (a lovely marketing gift; Parmesan can be substituted)
Preheat oven to 400.
Remove the stems and the outer layer from the fennel bulbs; cut into eighths and place into a 2-quart baking dish.
Remove stems from the mushrooms and cut into halves; add to the fennel.
Combine the oil, wine, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; pour over the vegetables and stir to coat.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring once halfway through, until the fennel is tender and starting to caramelize.
In a small skillet, melt the butter; remove from heat. Add seasoning and crumbs; combine well and sprinkle over vegetables. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings as a side dish.
Mary Bilyeu writes about her adventures in the kitchen - making dinner, celebrating holidays, entering cooking contests ... whatever strikes her fancy. She is also on a mission to find great deals for her Frugal Floozie Friday posts, seeking fabulous food at restaurants on the limited budget of only $5 per person. Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You should also visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.
The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.