Parmesan Fennel Crisps
Two things I love in this world are roasted vegetables and cheese — lets combine ’em up and die happy.
I made these Parmesan fennel crisps recently for a side dish at dinnertime, and after we polished off two whole fennel bulbs-worth in one sitting, M-Boh said to me,
“Why don’t you put this recipe up on the blog?”
So, here we are.
Also there’s a beer pairing in this post that will melt your brain, it’s that good.
These Parmesan fennel crisps have everything: crispy outside, tender inside, the nuttiest, crunchiest Parmesan – I’m a texture freak and these are perfection. PLUS, if you don’t count pepper and olive oil which you almost certainly have in your cupboard, there are just two ingredients you’ll need to buy to make these. For me, just the fennel, because a life without ready access to Parmesan in your fridge is not worth living.
I started making these delights years ago and I honestly have no idea where I first found the recipe. I don’t even really like anise or fennel flavored things, so whatever prompted me to make these, who knows.
Let’s move onto the beer pairing, because I truly and honestly believe that Allagash Brewing’s Astrid was created with the sole intention of drinking with this side dish. I cannot think of a better beer to pair with these Parmesan fennel crisps.
Astrid is a tart, funky saison that ages in aquavit barrels for about 8 months. Aquavit is a Scandinavian spirit that’s sort of like gin, but flavored with a variety of spices that may include, caraway, dill, anise, and you guessed it: fennel.
Apart from the obvious harmony of fennel flavor, there are quite a few reasons this pairing works well. First, the tartness is the perfect counterpoint to the richness while the ever so slightly nutty, biscuity malt character harmonizes with the nutty cheese. There’s a hint of fruitiness that works well with the herbacious quality and balances the saltiness.
All in all, a perfect match up.
This recipe is extremely easy and full of flavor – give it a try!
Parmesan Fennel Crisps
Preheat oven to 415 F
- 4 fennel bulbs, sliced into 1/4 inch wedges as pictured above (save the delicate fennel fronds for a pretty garnish)
- Olive oil for drizzling
- ~3/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Freshly grated black pepper to taste
- Use a nonstick baking sheet like these USA ones that M-Boh bought for me – I’m obsessed.
Drizzle each fennel slice with a bit of olive oil and a grind of fresh black pepper. Go light on the salt or omit it entirely since the Parmesan will add a lot of salt. Bake for 15 minutes then flip the slices and top with a big pinch of Parmesan cheese. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese is super crispy.
Astrid can currently** be found at the Allagash tasting room.
Buy the beer, make the dish, be happy.
**as of May 17th, 2018