Broiled Fennel with Orange & Parmigiano-Reggiano

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Yield:  4-6 Servings

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 each fennel bulbs, (about 1-1/2lbs) tough, bruised outer leaves discarded, cut in fourths, partially remove core. Reserve a few fronds of fennel.
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
To taste Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup orange juice (juice from two large oranges)
2 tsp  orange zest
1 cup  vegetable broth
1-2 each star anise, ground to a powder
3 Tbsp. Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (or any other hard grating cheese)
2 Tbsp. Gruyere cheese, grated (substitute Swiss cheese)
1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted

1. Pre-heat the broiler on low setting. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the oil, fennel and onion; season with salt and pepper and brown slightly; about 5 minutes. Add the orange juice, zest, broth and star anise to taste. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer. Cover and cook 10-15 minutes longer until fennel is fork-tender.

2. Arrange the fennel in a baking dish. Turn the heat back up to high and reduce the liquid down to a syrup; pour over the fennel.

3. Mix the cheese together in a small bowl and sprinkle on the fennel. Broil about 6 inches from the flame until cheese is lightly browned, about two minutes. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and reserved fennel fronds. Serve right from the casserole.