Baked Fennel with Cambozola
Eva Kolenko
Yields 10 Servings Total Time 1 hr
AuthorJerry Anne Di Vecchio

“Helen Evans Brown started me on fennel,” says Jerry Di Vecchio, Sunset’s long-time food editor. A West Coast cookbook author and consultant at Sunset in the 1950s and ’60s, Brown served fennel braised or raw with blue cheese. “One thing led to another, and I came up with this surprisingly addictive, meltingly tender dish in 1993. It’s still one of my favorites—and I make it year-round,” Di Vecchio says. This time we used Japanese panko instead of the original plain bread crumbs (for a bit of crunch) and bumped up the blue cheese topping.

How to Make It

1

Trim stalks from fennel and reserve 3/4 cup feathery leaves. Trim root ends and discard tough outer portions. Halve fennel lengthwise (to make flatter rather than taller pieces).

2

Lay fennel cut-side up in a 12-in. frying pan. Add chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat and simmer until fennel is just tender when pierced, 9 or 10 minutes.

3

Preheat oven to 375°. With a slotted spoon, transfer fennel, cut side up, to a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-qt. baking dish (it should fit snugly). Boil chicken broth, uncovered, over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Coarsely chop half of reserved fennel leaves and add to broth; spoon over fennel.

4

In a bowl, gently mash cheese and panko with a fork until blended (if using gorgonzola, squeeze handfuls together and break into clumps). Dot over fennel, leaving some of fennel uncovered.

5

Bake until cheese browns and fennel is hot, about 25 minutes. Scatter remaining fennel leaves on top.

MAKE AHEAD Through step 4, chilled airtight up to 1 day (chill remaining fennel leaves separately); bake about 35 minutes.

Ingredients

 5 heads fennel (each 3 1⁄2 in. wide) with feathery leaves
 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
 ½ lb cambozola or gorgonzola cheese
 ½ cup panko

Directions

1

Trim stalks from fennel and reserve 3/4 cup feathery leaves. Trim root ends and discard tough outer portions. Halve fennel lengthwise (to make flatter rather than taller pieces).

2

Lay fennel cut-side up in a 12-in. frying pan. Add chicken broth. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat and simmer until fennel is just tender when pierced, 9 or 10 minutes.

3

Preheat oven to 375°. With a slotted spoon, transfer fennel, cut side up, to a shallow 2 1/2- to 3-qt. baking dish (it should fit snugly). Boil chicken broth, uncovered, over high heat until reduced to 1/3 cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Coarsely chop half of reserved fennel leaves and add to broth; spoon over fennel.

4

In a bowl, gently mash cheese and panko with a fork until blended (if using gorgonzola, squeeze handfuls together and break into clumps). Dot over fennel, leaving some of fennel uncovered.

5

Bake until cheese browns and fennel is hot, about 25 minutes. Scatter remaining fennel leaves on top.

MAKE AHEAD Through step 4, chilled airtight up to 1 day (chill remaining fennel leaves separately); bake about 35 minutes.

Baked Fennel with Cambozola