Here at Travel Oregon, we feature a recipe each month from a local restaurant, using local ingredients. We hope you enjoy this month’s recipe!

Enjoy the delicious flavor of fennel in this popular gratin recipe from Nel Centro, a new restaurant in downtown Portland’s Arts and Culture district celebrating the cuisine of the Riviera with the exceptional ingredients of the Pacific Northwest. This Parmesan fennel gratin dish is an exciting side to grilled meats and fish.

Parmesan Fennel Gratin (detailed recipe and instructions to follow)

Serves 4

Our cast of characters. Not pictured: salt.

Slice both bulbs of fennel from root to tip (being sure to discard the core), then blanch in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain the fennel, then let cool.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the fennel and toss. Season with salt and pepper. (Note: we only used about a tablespoon of salt).

Place half of the fennel into a greased casserole dish, then sprinkle half the cheese on top.

Build a second layer with the rest of the fennel and cheese. Pour the heavy cream over the layers and top with bread crumbs. Place into a preheated oven (we baked at 350 degrees) for 20 minutes.

And, voila!

The verdict: I love fennel, so I knew this would be a hit. We served this with brisket and corn on the cob on the Fourth of July. It was a simple, yet perfect addition to our meal.

Let us know if you try this, or any of our other Travel Oregon Recipes of the Month!

Parmesan Fennel Gratin (Serves 4)

Download Printable Recipe

Parmesan Fennel Gratin
Serves 4

2 fresh fennel bulbs
3 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons salt
1/8 (one-eighth) Teaspoon white pepper
¼ (one-quarter) Cup heavy cream
¼ (one-quarter) Cup Parmesan cheese, grated
¼ (one-quarter) Cup breadcrumbs

Slice the fresh fennel bulbs from tip to root. Blanch in salted water for 3 minutes. Cool, dry and reserve.

To build gratin:
Grease an 8-inch casserole dish. Melt the remaining 2 Tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the fennel, toss to coat with the melted butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Layer half of the fennel into the casserole and sprinkle half of the cheese on top. Build a second layer with the remaining fennel and cheese. Pour heavy cream over the layers and top with breadcrumbs.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

about author Rhiannon West Chamberlain

Rhiannon is a native Oregonian who grew up exploring the nooks and crannies of the Oregon Coast and daydreaming in Powell’s City of Books. She now lives in NE Portland with her husband and her new baby boy and looks forward to teaching him to love Oregon as much as she does. Rhiannon attended both the University of Oregon and Portland State University, where she studied Journalism and Mass Media. She claims to ‘bleed green’ and happily cheers for both the Ducks and the Vikings every chance she gets. In her free time, Rhiannon enjoys sipping Oregon Pinot, finding new restaurants, bargain hunting and trying new recipes – sometimes successfully. She has a child-like enthusiasm for trying new things and rediscovering old ones – such as skee-ball, mini golf, and big slides.

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  1. Denise Barltey says…

    Thank you for your Fennel recipe. I doubled it and shared it with friends with success. I, too, love fennel and will put this recipe in my file :)

    Written on July 11th, 2009 / Flag this Comment
  2. Rhiannon West says…

    Glad you enjoyed the dish, Denise! Fennel is also one of my favorites.

    – Rhiannon, Travel Oregon

    Written on July 13th, 2009 / Flag this Comment
  3. Lilo Breid says…

    This is a fabulous and healthy recipe. Thanks so much for posting it.

    Written on July 21st, 2009 / Flag this Comment
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