Finocchi Gratinati (Baked Fennel)

Finocchi Gratinati (Baked Fennel)

Finocchi Gratinati (Baked Fennel)

Fennel (Anise) is one of those vegetables which until the late 1800s were avoided by non-Jews in Italy and considered lowly and vulgar. By the time this delicious vegetable was accepted into general Italian cuisine,  Jews had already discovered countless ways to prepare it, raw or cooked, as an appetizer or side. Fennel is said to be a digestive and detoxifier.

Besides eating the bulb, we use the seeds to flavor meats and sausages, and the fronds/leaves for tea and soups. Fennel tea is even said to increase milk production in nursing mothers!

Finocchi Gratinati (Baked Fennel)


  • (serves 6)
  • 4 large bulbs of fennel
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, slightly crushed but whole
  • 6 tablespoons of parmigiano cheese (for a DAIRY dish), OR plain bread crumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a touch of nutmeg


Boil the fennel in salted water till tender but not mushy (10 to 20 minutes).

Drain, dry, slice, and arrange in one layer in a greased baking pan.

Dress with the oil, salt, pepper, cheese or breadcrumbs (or a mix of both, but cut the amounts in half), and nutmeg..

(For a decadent, creamy dairy version, you can also add bechamel sauce).

Place the cloves of garlic somewhere around the pan. If making a dairy version you can add a few flakes of butter.

Bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F.

Discard the garlic and enjoy!

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  1. Looking forward to making this very soon. We love fennel. Thank you for sharing this treat.

  2. Susan Benesch says:

    Looking forward to making and eating this delightful very soon. We love fennel. Thank you for sharing this treat.

  3. I make this without boiling the fennel first – just slice the fennel and toss with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper,and sprinkle the parm on top and bake! It’s become one of our new favorite veggies!

  4. This looks amazing! I was never a fennel lover until I came across a corn salad with fennel and hearts of palm I found on … ever since I have been obsessed with fennel! I cant wait to try this recipe, it looks delicious!

  5. Oh, but this sounds wonderful.

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