Fennel has just started appearing at our farmers markets and I am thrilled because I have really enjoyed all of the fennel recipes I have tried before, such as braised, roasted and thrown in risottos. I find a lot of people don’t like fennel because of the anise flavour. I am not a big fan of anise either but when cooked fennel becomes milder and sweeter.
Because it’s summer, and we are trying to maximize our use of the barbecue I figured it was a perfect opportunity to try grilled fennel. Fennel is lovely grilled because it retains some of it’s crunch but also develops that pleasant sweetness which I chose to enhance with the balsamic. Grilled Fennel really couldn’t be easier, and when I do it again I will make enough for leftovers because I bet the grilled fennel would be delicious in a roasted vegetable sandwich or in a salad.
Grilled Fennel with Balsamic(serves 2)
Trim the fennel stalks and fronds away, you can use them for something else. Cut the bulb in four and gently trim away the core. You want to leave just enough core to hold the sections together. If you have a larger fennel bulb feel free to slice these 4 sections in half again. Rub the fennel with 1 teaspoon of the oil and a generous helping of salt and pepper.
Heat your grill to medium and make sure it is clean and oiled. Put the fennel on the grill, cover, and turn down to medium low. Check on the fennel in 5 minutes, if it is young and tender it is probably ready to be turned, otherwise it may need another few minutes. Baste with olive oil as needed. Grill 5-8 minutes per side and then drizzle with balsamic when hot. It should still have a good crispness to it, but not be raw either. Serve hot or at room temperature.