Fennel au gratin
- Difficulty: Easy
- Prep time: 15 min
- Cook time: 35 min
- Serving: 4 people
- Cost: Low
Forget about those drab school canteen meals with highly unpopular boiled vegetables, much to the dismay of all students! The dish we present you with today redeems a vegetable that tends to be avoided at tables: fennel au gratin! We'll show you how you can turn an unloved dish into a succulent and tasty delicacy, with the humble fennel! I bet you're asking how? The secrets to this delicious dish are the velvety bechamel that envelops the vegetables, and the oven baked?vegetables for a crisp and invitingly golden coating. Is your mouth watering yet? Let's discover Manuel's recipe for fennel au gratin!
- Ingredients (for a 10 inch (25 cm) diameter tray)
- Fennel 2 lbs (1 kg)
- Butter 1 stick (35 g)
- Parmigiano Reggiano DOP cheese 1 oz (35 g) - (for sprinkling)
How to prepare Fennel au gratin
To make fennel au gratin, clean and tip the fennel, remove the base 1 and outermost, tougher leaves; cut each one in half and wash under running water, then cut into large slices 2. Plunge the fennel in abundant hot salted water 3 and blanch them for 5-6 minutes.
In a capacious pan melt 1 stick of butter on a low flame, drain the fennel thoroughly and once the butter has melted, add the vegetables to the pan to brown for another 5 minutes, turning them over occasionally so that a crust forms on both sides 5. Remove from the heat when done, and start preparing the bechamel. Heat the milk in a saucepan 6,
in another saucepan melt the butter 7 and gradually sprinkle in the sieved flour8, stirring all the while with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming 9.
Now add the previously heated milk 10 and continue to stir until the sauce thickens; add the salt and the nutmeg 11. Now take the previously browned fennel slices and place them on the bottom of a round baking tray that is big enough for the vegetables to be arranged in a single layer; we used a 10 inch tray. Arrange them in a circle along the edge and work your way towards the center 12.
Pour the bechamel over them 13, sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 14 and bake in a static oven preheated to 392? for around 20-25 minutes (or in a ventilated oven at 356°F (180°C) for 15-20 minutes), until a golden crust forms on the surface. Remove the fennel au gratin from the oven 15, leave to cool and then serve.
Fennel au gratin can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 2 days. The dish can be frozen too, as long as you have used nothing but fresh ingredients to make it.
Passionate about cheese? Replace the bechamel with a velvety Parmesan cream, with a rich and decisive flavor!