I was asked to bring this dish to a party, after making it a couple of times for guests. It got rave reviews so I’ve decided to share it with all of you.
Fennel Gratin is a wonderful vegetable side dish. Baking the fennel tones down the anise flavor. Raw fennel can be overpowering and is an acquired taste for some. If you have never eaten fennel before, this is a good way to introduce fennel into your diet. Baked Fennel Gratin goes nicely with meats and fish.
Did you know that fennel is one of the main ingredients in Absinthe? Fennel is also considered medicinal. In Italian the word for Fennel is “Finocchio”, which is also a derogatory way of calling a homosexual. There, that’s my “fennel” trivia.
Rinse off fennel and remove any tough outer leaves.
Cut the stalks off.
Cut the fennel bulbs in half. I used 7 fennel bulbs.
Remove the hard core with a knife.
Slice the bulbs thinly crosswise and place in salted boiling water to cook for 10 minutes.
Place fennel in a large baking dish and season well with salt and pepper.
In a medium saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of butter, then stir in 5 tablespoons of flour.
Stir the butter and flour mixture well and cook for about 2 minutes, making sure not to let it scorch or burn. Then add 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 cups of milk to the mixture and stir over medium heat, until it thickens and starts to bubble.
Grate 2 cups of Gruyere cheese. I used a nice aged Gruyere.
Add 2 cups of Gruyere to the flour/milk mixture and stir until the cheese has melted and you have a nice smooth mixture.
Pour the cheese sauce over the fennel.
Make sure to distribute the cheese sauce throughout the fennel.
In a bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of dry bread crumbs and 3 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle with breadcrumb/cheese mixture. You can also sprinkle a little Gruyere cheese on top. Place in a preheated oven @ 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
6 – 7 fennel bulbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 3/4 cups of milk
2 cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs
Salt & pepper
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
Rinse fennel bulbs and remove any outer skin that is tough. Trim the stalks off the bulbs. Cut in half and remove the cores. Thinly slice the bulbs crosswise. Place sliced fennel in a pot of salted boiling water and cook for 10 minutes. Remove and drain well. Place fennel in a large baking dish and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Using a medium saucepan, melt 5 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Once melted, stir in 5 tablespoons of flour. Once well mixed, cook for about 2 minutes, making sure not to let it scorch. Now add the milk to the mixture, stir until it thickens and starts to bubble. Add 2 cups of freshly grated Gruyere cheese. Stir continuously until melted and smooth. Pour the cheese sauce over the fennel making sure to distribute evenly.
Mix 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs and 3 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Sprinkle mixture over the top of the fennel. Place in a preheated oven @ 375 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Serves 8 – 10