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Fabulous Fennel Gratin

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I’m not very fond of fennel bulb in salads despite my love of aniseed flavours, so when I see the elegant white bulbs with their green feathery flag tops piled high at the Farmer’s Market stalls, all I can think of cooking is a rich creamy gratin.

Last winter I shared by potato and fennel gratin recipe with you, baked and served as an elegant stack. This alternative method, minus the potatoes, is Italian in origin, an amalgamation and refinement of the many recipes I have used for fennel gratin.

I prefer a gratin that had cooked for a long time, slowly, with a creamy sauce to bathe the fennel making it melt in the mouth soft and creating an unctuous aniseed tinged sauce.

A simple salmon fillet and a salad of zucchini ribbons was the perfect counterpoint to this rich vegetable dish.

Fish and fennel are a wonderful flavour combination.

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3 medium bulbs of fennel
150 mls cream (I use lactose free)
150 mls milk ( I use lactose free low fat)
2 teaspoons plain flour (I used GF)
Nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese

Remove the tough outer leaves from the fennel bulbs then cut each bulb into quarters.
Put the fennel into a saucepan, cover with cold water, then bring the pot to the boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook the fennel until it is quite floppy.
Drain the fennel gently squeezing each quarter to remove excess water.
Lightly butter an oven proof dish that will contain the fennel in one layer.
Arrange the fennel in the dish, then sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top.
In a small bowl mix the flour to a thin slurry with the milk, then add the cream and season to taste with a shavings of nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour the cream over the fennel, it should be completely submerged. Add a little extra if not.
Bake the fennel at 160C for 1 hour until golden brown and creamy.

I was delayed a little serving my fennel gratin. It was none the worse for having baked for an extra 30 minutes at 140C.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

23 comments on “Fabulous Fennel Gratin

  1. Aneela Mirchandani
    July 5, 2014

    Such a wonderful idea. Cauliflower has been my favorite gratin vegetable but fennel might be even better.

    Like

  2. Fig & Quince
    July 3, 2014

    All I know is I read the post and now have a pang, a real pang, because I can only look at this mouth-watering gratin! Waaaah!

    Like

  3. richardmcgary
    July 2, 2014

    Sandra, this looks killer. I had never thought of doing fennel gratin but I don’t now why. I just never did. That is about to change. I bought 2 big, beautiful fennel 2 days ago at one of the Asian markets with the intent to do them sous vide per Stefan, http://stefangourmet.com/2013/05/17/fennel-sous-vide-fondant/, but I absolutely have to try this dish!!! It’s on the menu for tomorrow night. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 2, 2014

      hi Richard, glad to see you! I hope you like fennel cooked this way as much as we do. Let me know ho it goes..

      Like

  4. lapetitecasserole
    July 2, 2014

    The gratin is the best way to eat fennels! I could it eat them all! Love the addition of nutmeg, it brings an incredible taste to this plate!

    Like

  5. My French Heaven
    July 2, 2014

    I have got to give this a try! At first I thought it was a Dauphinois… Gorgeous!!

    Like

  6. chef mimi
    July 1, 2014

    Looks wonderful!

    Like

  7. cheergerm
    July 1, 2014

    Love fennel and fish. This looks fab.

    Like

  8. Francesca
    July 1, 2014

    Very tasty, and now I will search out your fennel and potato version too. Love that first photo with the green swirls on the plate echoing the colour of the fresh fennel.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 1, 2014

      Thanks Francesca, I’m sure that seeing you are “Almost Italian” you cook delicious fennel dishes too!

      Like

      • Francesca
        July 1, 2014

        I love fennel, baked and in salads, sliced very finely, but Mr Tranquillo hates it!!! How annoying. Finocchio is affectionate slang for homosexual in Italian, one that always excited my adolescent Italian students!! They loved running about, calling out ‘finocchio at each other.

        Like

  9. My Kitchen Witch
    July 1, 2014

    Lovely! I’ve baked something similar – from Tessa Kiros’ book, Twelve – which turned out a bit soupy. I think your recipe corrects that little problem. It is also a wonderful vegetable slow roasted. But, it wasn’t until I had paper thin slices of fennel simply dressed with oil and vinegar when we were in Sicily that I began to appreciate raw fennel in salads. I think the key is “paper thin”.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      July 1, 2014

      I tried that recipe from Twelve too, same result. Maybe I should revisit fennel salad and slice the bulb finely on the mandolin….

      Like

  10. marymtf
    July 1, 2014

    Does look delicious, though on first sight and in my reader, I thought it was a savoury version of a pavlova. 🙂

    Like

  11. Leah
    July 1, 2014

    yum…. looks delicious and I love the photos for this post xxx

    Like

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2014 by in FODMAP diet, Food, Gluten Free, Light Savoury Dishes, Side Dishes & Salads and tagged , , , , .
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