Tuesday, November 23, 2010
milk baked fennel
finocchio con latte al forno
So I was a little disappointed to only get one bulb of fennel this year from the food co-op. And then it came to actually cooking that fennel and I remembered I don't really know what to do with it, haha.
Luckily, I found a great recipe from that issue of Saveur with all the Roman food. I blogged about the pork chops and pepperonata from the same article earlier this year. With my fennel, I made this traditional Roman dish where the fennel bulb is sliced into wedges and baked in milk.
Not wanting to waste anything, I decided to try and include the fennel stalks as well as the bulb. This led to mixed results. The bulb was meltingly tender and delicious. The stalks were another story. Some of them got really soft and yummy, but some of them were very fibrous and stringy. I definitely think there's a reason people don't usually eat them. Although some of them turned out okay, I think ultimately that the stalks are not really meant to be eaten. They'd probably season a soup or a fish stock just fine, but you don't want to bite into one of those chewy stringy ones. Yuck.
crispy baked fennel
The basic gist is to cook the fennel with plenty of milk on the stovetop until it starts to get soft, and then you finish it off in the oven with a topping of parmesan cheese, which becomes nice and crispy. When I put everything in the oven, it looked like a loose, soupy mess, but the milk really cooked down and became av very thick and delicious sauce. And the fennel itself was just so soft and delicious, and surprisingly flavorful with just the milk, cheese and some seasoning.
If you've got fennel, this is a very easy and satisfying dish to prepare. Well worth trying out!