1) Chop stems and roots off of fennel, leaving just the bulbs.
2) Wash bulbs well and quarter them.
3) Heat oil in an oven safe skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the fennel quarters and sear on each side for 3 minutes per side.
4) Add garlic cloves (whole, but peeled) to the pan. Sprinkle on some salt and cover the pan with foil. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, you can transfer all of this to a baking dish.
5) Bake the fennel and garlic at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until the fennel is very tender.
6) Transfer fennel and garlic to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add other ingredients (reserve 2 tablespoons of cheese for topping) and continue to pulse until everything is combined.
7) Butter a 3 cup baking dish and transfer the dip to the dish. Sprinkle on remaining cheese and salt and pepper.
8) Bake dish again for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
9) Serve dip with thick crackers or crusty bread.