Fennel Gratins 4.000

Scott Suchman for The Washington Post

Jul 29, 2015

These crisped, salty and savory slices of fennel make a terrific and unusual hors d'oeuvre.

Originally developed as a side dish featured in chef-restaurateur Marc Vetri's 2011 "Rustic Italian Food," it is served today as a "welcome" at Vetri.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Make Ahead: The gratins can be made an hour in advance.


Servings:
4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 large or 3 to 4 small fennel bulbs, fronds reserved for garnish (about 2 pounds total)
  • About 1 1/4 cups olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a rimmed baking sheet or large, shallow baking dish at hand.

Trim off and discard the bottom and tough outer layer of each fennel bulb. Cut each bulb in half from top to bottom, then cut each half into 4 equal wedges, keeping the core intact; that will help hold the wedges together.

Pour enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the baking sheet or baking dish, then add the fennel wedges. You'll want to position them so their surfaces can hold the seasonings and cheese.

Sprinkle each wedge lightly with salt, pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes. Top each one with the cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fennel is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork and the cheese is golden brown. Let cool (in the baking sheet or baking dish) until barely warm.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer to individual plates or a platter. Garnish with fronds and serve right away.

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Recipe Source

From Philadelphia chef-restaurateur Marc Vetri.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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