This is my second attempt at finding a fennel recipe that I like. My first was making an orange and fennel salad as a side to some gorgeous duck breasts. It tasted too much like licorice and like a petulant child, I pushed it around my plate and ate around it. But those paper thin sliced pieces of fennel still taunt me, despite being scraped off the plate straight into the kitchen wastebasket.
So I caramelized it. And it worked. Go figure.
You will need (Makes 1 flatbread, serves 2 people):
- 1 lb pizza dough
- 1/2 bulb fennel, thinly sliced (I used a mandoline for this)
- 2 very thin slices lemon, halved thinly sliced
- freshly grated parmesan reggiano
- small bunch parsley, chopped finely
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
First, prepare your fennel. Wash and trim the feathery leaves off the top. Halve the fennel bulb and take out the hard core at the base. Thinly slice the fennel. Throw it into a pan generously coated with olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over this and let it slowly caramelize for the next half an hour or so.
While that is on the stovetop, prepare your pizza dough. First, preheat your pizza stone and oven to 500 degrees. Roll the dough out as thin as you can. If it bounces back, let it rest on the countertop for 20 minutes and try again. Once it's the desired thinness and shape, brush the entire surface with olive oil. Stick it on the preheated pizza stone for about 10 minutes, or until the top is golden and the dough holds its shape.
Take it out of the oven and lay on your toppings. I used thinly thinly sliced lemon, caramelized fennel, lots and lots of grated Parmesan and finely chopped parsley. Next time I make this, I'm adding caramelized onions. Some goat cheese wouldn't hurt either. Don't forget your salt and pepper!
Throw this whole thing back into the oven for another 10 minutes. Once it comes out, add more shaved Parmesan and serve. I ate it with a side salad and some roasted asparagus.