Roasted Fennel with Parmesan Bread Crumbs
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WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
For our roasted fennel, we began by cutting the bulbs into wedges, which had two benefits: It provided good surface area for browning, and the attached core kept the pieces intact. Covering the pieces with foil for most of the cooking time ...
GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Look for fennel bulbs that measure 3½ to 4 inches in diameter and weigh around 1 pound with the stalks (12 to 14 ounces without); trim the bases very lightly so that the bulbs remain intact.
FOR THE FENNEL: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.
Cut each fennel bulb lengthwise through core into 8 wedges (do not remove core). Whisk water and salt in large bowl until salt is dissolved. Add fennel wedges to bowl and toss gently to coat. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with pepper, and toss gently to coat. Arrange fennel wedges cut side down along 2 longer sides of prepared sheet. Drizzle any water in bowl evenly over fennel wedges. Cover sheet tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 20 minutes.
FOR THE BREAD CRUMBS: While fennel roasts, toast panko in oil in 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer panko to bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in Parmesan, pepper flakes, and salt. Let cool completely, about 10 minutes.
Remove foil from sheet and continue to roast until side of fennel touching sheet is browned, 5 to 8 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through roasting. Flip each fennel wedge to second cut side. Continue to roast until second side is browned, 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer to large plate. Sprinkle with panko mixture and fennel fronds and serve.