Fennel is one of my all-time favorite vegetables to enjoy and is extremely versatile to cook with. This recipe is my favorite ways to enjoy fennel fronds in the spring time, and is a traditional side dish my nonna (grandmother) always makes. Not many people cook with just the fronds, but when pan-frying it with bread crumbs, it tastes just as delicious as the fennel bulb itself. It is farely easy and quick to make once you have cooked the fronds first. This recipe calls for wild fennel fronds which are only the top, leafy part of the fennel plant. —Margaret Rewers
To make the breadcrumbs:
Combine bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Taste for preferred amount of seasoning.
Gather together the wild fennel fronds and wash them gently. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Cook fronds for 15-20 minutes until cooked through and wilted. Drain the fronds out the water; dry; and allow to cool. (This can be done days before).
In a large bowl, combine the cooked fennel fronds and breadcrumbs together and mix until evenly distributed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a saucepan, coat the olive oil in the bottom of a frying pan and heat through. Add fennel frond mixture in a flat even layer in the frying pan and allow fronds to cook and get crispy on one side. After around 5 minutes, flip fronds over and allow the other side to cook until crispy and golden. Transfer onto a plating dish and serve. Mangia Bene!