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This Fennel Gratin is easy and quick to make and only requires 4 ingredients. Serve as a side with roast or grilled meats, seafood or as a delicious dip.
The Florence Fennel is a crisp vegetable that can be sautéed, grilled, roasted or eaten raw. It’s aniseed flavour can transform a salad or perfectly compliment a fish dish.
Fennel grows wild throughout Italy and both the bulb and dried fennel seeds are used a great deal in Italian cuisine. The bulb is often sliced very thinly into a salad (adding a delightful anise flavour and a lovely fresh crunch), its herbs sprinkled over fish as a garnish, or the dried seeds are used in cured and cooked meats.
While raw fennel is crunchy with a fresh, sweet anise-like flavour, braising/baking makes it tender and sweeter (similar to cooking carrots). The anise and lemon flavours make it an excellent accompaniment to fish or fatty foods.
When preparing this dish, remove the frilly fronds from each bulb, but do not throw these away as they make an excellent garnish.
The fennel is cooked in a pan, where the flavours mellow, and are perfectly paired with the nutty and intensely rich flavour of the Parmesan cheese.
Fennel Gratin or Dip
- 2 fennel bulbs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
- 100 ml milk or full fat cream
- Cut fronds off one or two fennel bulbs and slice away root end. Wash, halve and slice finely the bulbs. Place in pan with 2 or 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with salt, cover pan and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally and allow to caramelize to a light golden colour.
- Add cream or milk, raise heat to boil, then cover and simmer on low for 5 or 10 minutes, till tender. Add 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, and mix well. Place in oven dish and grill till golden brown.Great as a side with any fish dish.