Want some easy bragging rights? Tell your friends and co-workers you made a "fennel gratin" for dinner. They'll be so confused and impressed: "What's fennel?" "What's a gratin?" "What's cooking?" But only you will know how easy it was to make and how delicious and creamy it was to eat. And that's not even the star of the show! These thyme- and Parmesan-crusted pork chops are the perfect compliment to the gratin, making this a dynamite knock-out of a weekday meal.
Trim top and bottom of fennel bulbs, halve, and remove tough core. Cut into ½" dice. Mince garlic. Stem thyme and coarsely chop. Trim zucchini ends, halve lengthwise, and cut on an angle into ½" slices. Rinse pork chops, pat dry, and season both sides with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper.
Cook the Fennel
Place a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tsp. olive oil and fennel to hot pan. Cook, stirring often, until browned and softened, 10-12 minutes. Add ¼ tsp. salt, half the thyme (reserve remaining for Parmesan crust), and cream. Bring to a boil, remove from burner, and stir in half the mozzarella. Transfer to prepared small casserole dish. Sprinkle on remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake Gratin and Zucchini
Place zucchini on prepared baking sheet and toss with garlic, 1 tsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt, and a pinch of pepper. Spread into a single layer on half of baking sheet. Place casserole dish with fennel gratin on other half. Bake until fennel gratin is golden brown and zucchini is lightly browned and tender, 8-12 minutes. While gratin bakes, make Parmesan crust.
Make the Parmesan Crust
In a small bowl, combine remaining thyme, Parmesan, and 1 tsp. olive oil.
Cook the Pork
Place a medium oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Place 1 tsp. olive oil and pork in hot pan. Cook until browned on one side, 4-5 minutes. Flip pork, spoon Parmesan crust over the top and spread evenly. Place pan in oven and bake until Parmesan is light brown and pork reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees, 5-8 minutes. Remove pork from pan and rest 5 minutes.
Plate the Dish
Spoon gratin and zucchini onto plate. Place pork chop in front of vegetables and serve.