Serves 8 to 10
2 medium to large fennel bulbs, trim the stalks and cut off 1/8 inch from bottom of bulb
2 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
2 TBS freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese
extra-virgin olive oil; enough to have 1/4 to 1/2 inch oil in pan for frying
Stand fennel bulb up and cut in half. In same direction, cut wedges from each half that are about 1/2 inch thick. You don’t want wedges too think, but must be enough to remain attached from bottom, even if it’s slight.
Bring a 4-quart saucepan filled with water to a high boil. Boil briskly until the fennel is tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Check for doneness with a fork, should be slightly tender. Drain well and set aside to cool.
In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a few pinches of salt and several grinds of pepper.
In another shallow bowl or plate, mix breadcrumbs with the parm cheese.
Dip fennel wedges 1 at a time in the beaten egg, fully coating. Then lift out with a fork, drain off egg, and dredge in the breadcrumbs, patting a little to adhere and coating them well. You want to keep the wedges compact and as little splay as possible. Set the wedges on a tray and continue until all are coated.
Put 1/4 to 1/2 inch of oil in a 10-inch sauté pan, and heat over medium-high heat. Test the temperature of the oil with a pinch of breadcrumbs. Should sizzle! Add wedges to cook comfortably in a single layer, not overcrowding the pan. Cook until well browned, turning once with tongs, about 1 – 2 minutes per side. Place the wedges in a single layer on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Continue frying until all the wedges are cooked. Serve immediately or place in oven in a single layer, uncovered, at 175 degrees until ready to serve.