Fennel is one of those love it or hate it vegetables, although bizarrely I used to hate it and now I love it.
And that is since I started roasting it in the oven with some olive oil and parmesan.
The oven roasting softens the mildly astringent aniseed flavour you get when it is raw, (if you like liquorice, chances are you will like raw fennel) and replaces it with a mellow sweetness with just a hint of aniseed. And a sprinkling of grated fresh parmesan improves things even further (as cheese does with most foods in my opinion).
And because fennel is usually available all year round it has become one of my favourite side dishes and I have even eaten it on its own with some crusty bread for a light lunch. Great for vegetarians too if you use a parmesan style vegetarian hard cheese.
Making it is simplicity itself.
Trim the fennel bulbs by cutting a small slice off the base (root end), trying to keep the bulb intact, and take a half a centimetre off the fronds at the top.
Using either a mandolin or a good sharp knife, carefully cut the bulb vertically, into quarter inch slices. You can have them thicker or thinner depending on what you feel like, just adjust the roasting time. Place them into a roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. If any of the slices fall apart just push them back together.
Put them in a preheated 200C/180C fan oven for about 20 minutes, turn them over, sprinkle with 2-3 tablespoons of finely grated parmesan and roast for another 15-20 minutes or until the fennel slices are soft and tender and the cheese nicely brown.
Serve straight away with a piece of grilled salmon, or lamb cutlets or roast chicken. It's a dish that is very versatile and goes with most things. But more importantly, it tastes great and is pretty healthy to boot.