About this recipe:Four small fennel bulbs are filled with a delightful blend of pine nuts, Parmesan cheese and basil, idea as a starter or appetiser.
4 small fennel bulbs
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
25g pine nuts, chopped
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
ground black pepper, to taste
salt, to taste
chopped fresh basil, to taste
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Method Prep:15min › Cook:25min › Ready in:40min
Wash the fennel, trim the ends and cut in half lengthways. Remove the stalk then chop the leaves and set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, add lemon juice and boil fennel halves for 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid, rinse fennel with cold water and set aside.
Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 5.
Meanwhile mix pine nuts with breadcrumbs and toast in a dry frying pan over low heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In the same frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil and cook and stir chopped fennel leaves and garlic for a few minutes. Add pine nuts, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and Parmesan cheese and mix well. Stir in remaining butter and season to taste.
Place fennel with the cut side up into a casserole dish, sprinkle with salt and basil. Fill fennel with the nut mixture and pour reserved fennel liquid 1/2 cm high into the casserole dish, discard the rest.
Bake for about 15 minutes in the preheated oven until the fennel is tender and the filling is golden. Remove from the oven and serve.
Parmesan cheese is not truly vegetarian, as it contains animal rennet. To make this dish 100% vegetarian, omit the cheese or find a suitable vegetarian substitute made without animal rennet. In supermarkets look for the 'parmesan style hard cheeses' which are suitable for vegetarians.