Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fennel Gratin (Finocchi al gratin)

Pin It Now!

Note to self... "Must cook with Fennel more often"!!!

For those of you that may only know if the spice or seeds, fennel looks a bit like an onion.  Even grows in rings like an onion.  But the taste is much different.  Anise flavor, similar to black  licorice, widely grown in the mediterranean, this is one of the most ancient of flavors.

In fact, I have two stories you know, but have never associated with fennel before.  the first is Greek.  The word for fennel in ancient Greece is Matathos.  the word may sound just a tad familiar as MARATHON.  Yea, that Marathon, as in Battle of, and the long 26.2 mile run.  The word Marathon actual translates as "a plain with Fennels".

One more Fennel trivia for you... Prometheus, the Greek Titan who stole fire from the gods and transported it to Earth and given to humans... Prometheus stole that fire with a stalk of fennel.  Prometheus has become known as an example of unexpected consequences and the danger of over reaching (Zeus took offence, strapped him to a rock and had an eagle feast on his liver every day... But I digress).  And even stretching further, the subtitle to the novel FRANKENSTEIN was, "The Modern Prometheus"

And last, that golden statue in the ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center in NYC... that's Prometheus.

And if you look close at the photo to the left, you can even see the flaming bulb of Fennel in the ill fated hands of the Titan.

Betcha a few of you have seen that statue a dozen times and never knew that.

Better get on to the recipe (which I did LOVE) before I digress further...

OK, Here's what I did...

Fennel Gratin (Finocchi al gratin)

  • 1 Medium Fennel Bulb, stems discarded, Bulb thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS Butter
  • 2 TBS, as needed of White Wine
  • Juice and Zest of one Lemon
  • 1 Cup Grated Fontina Cheese, divided, saving a couple tsp to top
  • 2 tsp Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg
  • 2 TBS Pine Nuts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Cooking Directions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. The recipe is two parts, first is to soften the fennel rings in butter and lemon juice over medium high heat, sauteing for about 10 minutes or until the rings are soft and pliable. Set aside while you make the sauce.
  3. Next is a cheesy Bechamel sauce. to make the sauce, combine 2 TBS of butter with 2 TBS of flour over medium heat.
  4. Whisk continuously over the heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the Half and Half and Cream and cheese and whisk until combined and the cheese has melted.
  6. Add the nutmeg, a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk.
  7. Add the white wine and whisk, add more wine if needed to thin.
  8. In 2 Ramekins, divide the soft fennel. Spoon on the sauce covering all of the top and filling to about 1/2 way up.
  9. Garnish with more grated fontina cheese and pine nuts.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top has become golden brown and delicious!
  11. Serve HOT and ENJOY

This was my side dish for A Fish on Friday meal and was PERFECT!  Incredibly rich cheesy, fantastic Earthy flavor of the roasted Fennel.  Sweet and herbal with the nutmeg accented creamy cheese sauce.  A bit crunchy and soft and delicious.

I repeat... Note to self... "Must cook with Fennel more often"!!!


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Authentic Italian Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop. The world's most popular cuisine, authentic, natural, organic, Farm to Table... the Italians started, perfected or embraced it before it became a fad. This page is a guide to Italian Cooking... For the home cook!  So, Cin Cin (toast) and Buon Appetito (Enjoy your Meal) to you all and let's Cook authentic Italian!


Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

No comments:

Post a Comment