Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
5 medium fennel bulbs, (about 1 1/4 pounds each)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod or ouzo (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs, (see Tip)
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Coat a 1 1/2-quart gratin dish or other shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
Trim off stalks and tough outer layers from fennel. Cut the bulbs in half lengthwise. Then cut each half into 4 wedges. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute more. Pour in broth, lemon juice and anise liqueur (if using); cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to the prepared dish. Bake, uncovered, until the fennel is very tender, about 45 minutes. Combine Parmesan and breadcrumbs; sprinkle over the fennel. Bake until the top is golden, about 10 minutes longer.
Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs: Trim crusts from firm sandwich bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/3 cup crumbs.