The Memphis farmer’s Market (MFM) opened again this morning for the season. A little earlier than previous years – their first few years it was the first Saturday in May, then whenever in April the strawberries came in. But today there were lettuces and radishes and all the spring greens the south knows so well: spinach, turnip & collard greens, Swiss chard and more.
I bought some fennel – something I have not cooked before, so came home to look up a simple recipe. The root bulbs were rather flat, but it had lots of feathery fronds. I knew fennel had an anise-like flavor, and these bulbs had a strong and clear but not overpowering scent. The kitchen smelled great while it was cooking! I hadn’t realized how popular it was in Mediterranean cooking until I started looking for recipes, but since I’m working towards that type of eating, I’m pleased to know another flavor to use.
Roasted Fennel with parmesan
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly oil the bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange the fennel in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then with the Parmesan. Drizzle with the oil. Bake until the fennel is fork-tender and the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Chop enough fennel fronds to equal 2 teaspoons, then sprinkle over the roasted fennel and serve.
These bulbs were rather flattened, I think the roasting would have gone better with a fat round bulbs, which would have been bigger and filled the pan better. Mine were a touch dried around the edges by the time the middles were tender.