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Seasoned simply with olive oil, salt and pepper and finished with nutty shavings of parmesan cheese, buttery Grilled Fennel is a vegetable side dish you'll crave.
This quick, no-fuss recipe is perfect for all kinds of backyard BBQs and summer get-togethers. Artfully arranged on a platter, it's the ideal side dish for just about any grilled meat, fish or seafood.
Ingredients You Need to Make Grilled Fennel
- Fresh Fennel Bulbs: Look for large bulbs (with at least some fronds still attached) that are heavy for their size and without splits, discoloration or bruising.
- Olive Oil: good, extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher Salt and Black Pepper:
- Parmesan Cheese: ideally Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
- Fennel Fronds: for garnish, optional
If you're not familiar with fennel, you might be interested to know that it's related to carrots. And although it's native to the Mediterranean basin, it's now widely available worldwide. It's at its peak in late fall to early spring, but many grocery stores carry it year round.
You can serve it raw, to add interest and delicious crunch to a raw vegetable platter or chop it up for salad, but I think it's even better when braised or grilled. Cooked fennel has a mellow licorice / anise flavor and a silky rich texture. Finished with good olive oil and shaved ribbons of parmesan cheese, it's elevated to a side that just might outshine every other dish at the table.
How to Cut Fennel Bulb for Grilling
Trim off the fronds and thick stalks from the top of the fennel bulb (reserve the feathery fronds for a pretty, flavorful garnish). Then trim a thin slice off the bottom of the bulb, taking care to leave the core intact. Turn the bulb upright and carefully slice it lengthwise, top to bottom, into ~½-inch wide slices.
A few great pairings:
- Grilled Lamb Chops or Grilled Lamb Loin Chops
- Spicy Grilled Shrimp or Grilled Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
- Grilled Swordfish topped with a vibrant Green Olive Tapenade
- Italian Potato Salad or Greek Potato Salad
- Grilled Green Beans or Grilled Bok Choy and Grilled Cauliflower Steaks (for a grilled vegetable feast!)
- 4 large fennel bulbs cut lengthwise into ½-inch thick slices
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling on at the end
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 ounce shaved Parmesan cheese or more to taste
- chopped fennel fronds optional garnish
- Preheat a gas grill to medium-high heat.
- Arrange fennel slices in a single layer on a platter or baking sheet and brush each side generously with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Grill 3-4 minutes per side until just tender (leave undisturbed on each side to get those great grill marks). Arrange on a serving platter; lightly drizzle with olive oil and top with parmesan cheese shavings. Garnish with fennel fronds if desired and serve.