David had a fennel dish in a restaurant while on a business trip recently. He talked about so much after that I realized we needed to try cooking fennel. I’ve had it raw in salads, but I honestly can’t remember if I’ve had it cooked, which must mean I haven’t.
This isn’t anything like what he described, but here’s the recipe David wanted to try. Oh. My. Gawd. So good! As I was mentally tallying the cost of the ingredients before starting, I remember thinking we won’t be having this very often. After eating it, however, I decided want to experiment with fennel some more. I’ll have to get a second job to afford my fennel habit, but it will be worth it.
This recipe was oh, so simple. And naturally gluten free. Don’t be scared by fennel (like I was), it’s easy to work with. We served this with roast pork.
Baked Fennel Gratin with Parmesan
2 fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 cup creme fraiche (I’m going to try sour cream or plain yogurt next time)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cut the base off of the fennel bulbs, and cut a cone shape into the base to remove the core. You can see the core because it is whiter than the surrounding green. This is optional, but helps the fennel cook faster. Slice the fennel vertically (upright) into 1/4 inch thick slices.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, and fry for about 5 minutes. Combine the half-and-half and creme fraiche in a bowl until well blended. Transfer fennel to a shallow baking dish and pour the cream mixture over, coating the fennel. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top is golden brown and the fennel is tender enough to pierce with a fork.