Fennel halves, slowly baked in wine, receive a final flourish of Parmesan cheese and buttered bread crumbs.
4 tablespoons butter
2 heads fennel
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a shallow casserole dish. Trim the fennel, then cut each head in half lengthwise. Arrange, cut side down, in the melted butter. Pour in the wine and cover the dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender when pierced.
2. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a small skillet and add the bread crumbs, tossing to coat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Turn the fennel over so that the cut side is up. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle on the buttered bread crumbs. Return to the oven and bake about 10 minutes or until the crumbs are lightly browned. Transfer to a serving dish and spoon on the pan juices.