Baked Fennel with Garlic & Herbs

Raw fennel is a wonderful addition to salads, but when you bake it, it becomes a meltingly tender side dish. The celerylike stalks attached to most fennel bulbs are too woody to be edible, but occasionally you’ll find some tender enough to eat. Test the stalks to see, and any that aren’t too tough can be baked along with the bulbs.

2 bulbs fennel (about 1 pound each)
1/4 cup water
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, slivered

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2 Cut off and discard the fennel stalks. Reserve the fennel fronds and coarsely chop. Finely chop enough of the fronds to make 1/4 cup and set aside. Cut the bulbs lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
3 In a large bowl, whisk together the water, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, oregano, and salt. Add the sliced fennel and garlic, and toss until coated. Transfer to a glass or ceramic baking dish. Cover with foil.
4 Bake for 25 minutes, or until the fennel is tender. Sprinkle the reserved fennel fronds over the fennel and serve with any pan juices that have collected. Makes 4 servings

Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 96 calories, 4.9g total fat (0.6g saturated), 0mg cholesterol, 5g dietary fiber, 13g carbohydrate, 2g protein, 376mg sodium.