What’s gorgeous enough to serve at a holiday gathering, but easy enough to indulge in whenever you feel like it?
It’s that time of year again, lots of parties, potlucks and bring-a-dish moments, when you have very little time to be messing around in the kitchen.
Fennel gratin to the rescue! It can be easily transported, made ahead of time, and did I mention delicious??
1-4 whole fennel bulbs
1 handful of grated cheese per fennel bulb
1 tablespoon of heavy cream per fennel bulb
Butter, salt, pepper
This recipe is easily scaled according to how much you need to make or want to eat.
Cut off the fennel fronds and save them for a salad, or sprinkle on top of boiled potatoes.
Cut the fennel bulb into wedges. Depending on the size of the bulb, cut into either quarter or eighths. Cook the fennel wedges in salted boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
*Bringing a dish to the party note: If you’re traveling to a friends and you know you’ll be able to put this in the oven to finish then stop here. Gently place the drained bulbs in a plastic bag, along with the heavy cream. Bring along the oven dish, butter and grated cheese. It will take you about 2 minutes to assemble the dish and 15 minutes to bake.
And Miss Manner says, “Always bring your own baking dish. Don’t expect the host to have to dig through her cabinet to find you a dish!”
For the rest of us who aren’t going to a party: Place the fennel bulbs in a bowl and add the heavy cream, gently stirring to coat the bulbs.
Arrange the drained fennel wedges in a flat oven-proof dish so they are in a single layer. Most likely the wedges will have fallen apart, so try and put them back together so they look pretty, ok? Arrange in rows so that it will be easier to serve.
Generously dot the fennel with bits of butter, and even more generously, cover the fennel in lots and lots of grated parmigiana cheese. Bake at 350F/180C until the fennel bulbs are hot and the cheese is gloriously brown and crunchy.
Buon’ appetito and Happy Holidays!
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