Fennel Gratin with a Crispy Crunch Topping

Fennel Gratin with a Crispy Crunch Topping

Creamy fennel and a crispy topping make for a delicious yet simple side dish perfect for a holiday get together or just a cozy weeknight dinner.
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Seasonal, Vegetarian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4
Calories: 827kcal


  • 9"x9" baking dish


  • 2 lbs. fennel bulbs, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp thyme leaves, fresh or dried
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • cups breadcrumbs, preferably panko
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 oz. grated Parmesan, about 1 cup


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Thinly slice 2 lbs. fennel bulbs (reserving ender fronds for later) and 1 onion. Place in a large bowl along with 1 cup heavy cream, 4 Tbsp unsalted butter cut into small pieces, and 1 Tbsp thyme leaves. Season with a big pinch of Kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer to a 9"x9" baking dish and bake until fennel is crisp-tender and liquid is reduced by about half, 30-35 minutes.
  • While fennel bakes, mix 1½ cups breadcrumbs, 1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped, and 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large bowl. Season with a pinch of Kosher salt and some black pepper. Mix in 1 oz. grated Parmesan and 1 Tbsp thyme leaves.
  • When fennel is tender, scatter breadcrumbs evenly over the gratin and bake until crispy and deep golden brown, about 12-15 minutes.
  • While topping gets crispy, pick and chop the tender fennel fronds to use as a garnish. Allow to cool slightly after baking and garnish with fennel fronds.


Calories: 827kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 64g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 558mg | Potassium: 1260mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1596IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 326mg | Iron: 5mg