Baked fennel gratin is made with onion and olive oil and topped with Gruyere, Parmesan, panko crumbs, and nutmeg.
Baked fennel pairs so well with Gruyere and Parmesan. In this easy gratin, the fennel wedges are baked with onions and stock and finished with a crisp, golden topping of panko and cheese. It’s the perfect side for a holiday meal if you want to impress! For more fennel recipes, try this Mushroom Fennel Quinoa Stuffing and Grilled Fennel with Parmesan and Lemon.
I never cared for fennel until I tried it a few years ago in San Francisco, cooked with scallops, and now I can’t get enough of it! It is a wonderful non-starchy vegetable that is excellent pureed, grilled, in veggie lasagnas, or thinly shaved in salads. This healthy fennel gratin makes a great side dish for the holidays, like Christmas or Thanksgiving or even on a random weeknight paired with chicken or seafood.
What does gratin mean?
Gratin is simply a dish with a crispy topping made of breadcrumbs or cheese. Potatoes gratin is probably one of the most popular, but it’s a very versatile side that works well with many vegetables.
Fennel Gratin Ingredients
- Fennel: Remove the stalks and fronds from two large fennel bulbs, and keep a few fronds for garnish. Trim, quarter, and slice out the woody core of the bulbs.
- Onion: Slice a yellow onion into quarter-inch slices.
- Salt and Pepper to season the vegetables
- Stock: Vegetable or chicken stock will work, and if you don’t have stock, use broth.
- Cheese: Freshly grate a half cup each of Gruyere and Parmesan.
- Panko Breadcrumbs for a crisp topping
- Nutmeg: Just a bit of this warm spice to round out the flavors.
How to Make Fennel Gratin
- Cook the fennel on the stove: Put a 12-inch cast iron or another oven- safe skillet over medium-low heat and drizzle with olive oil. Arrange the fennel wedges in concentric circles in the skillet and tuck in the onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake the veggies: Cook the veggies for about five minutes, shaking the pan a few times. Once the mixture gives off a nice fragrance, pour in the stock, transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake it for 45 minutes at 325°F until the fennel is tender.
- Make the cheese topping: While the gratin bakes, mix the panko, Parmesan, Gruyere, panko, nutmeg, remaining salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- Add the topping: Remove the dish from the oven, raise the temperature to 375°F, sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top, and return it to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until it is golden and crispy. Let it cool, and garnish with a few chopped fennel fronds. Leftovers will keep for up to five days refrigerated.
More Gratin Recipes You’ll Love:
- Makeover Spinach Gratin
- Spiralized Turnip and Potato Au Gratin Casserole with Turkey
- Brussels Sprouts Gratin
- Butternut Squash Gratin
- Spiralized Winter Veggie Gratin
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- 2 large fennel bulbs, about 3 pounds total, stalks and fronds removed (reserve a few fronds for garnish)
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 ounce about 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 ounce about 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs, or gluten free panko
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Trim, quarter, and slice out the woody core of the fennel bulbs. Slice them into 1/2-inch thick wedges.
- Slice the onion into 1/4-inch slices.
- Place a 12-inch cast iron or other oven-safe skillet over medium-low heat and drizzle in the olive oil.
- Arrange the fennel wedges concentrically in the skillet, and tuck the slices of onion in between the fennel. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt and a few cracks of pepper.
- Cook, shaking the pan slightly now and then, for about 5 minutes. Keep the heat low enough that the pan doesn’t smoke.
- Once the mixture is giving off a nice fragrance, pour in the broth and carefully transfer the skillet to the oven.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the panko, Parmesan, Gruyere, Panko, nutmeg, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few cracks of pepper.
- Bake the fennel for 45 minutes, or until the fennel is tender then remove the dish from the oven, raise the temperature to 375 degrees F, sprinkle the Gruyere mixture over the top and return to the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the top is golden and crispy.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes then garnish with a few chopped fennel fronds.