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FINOCCHI GRATINATI (Fennel Gratin)

FINOCCHI GRATINATI (Fennel Gratin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prep Time: 15 min / Cook Time: 90 min / Serves: 4-6

4 Fennel Bulbs (fronds reserved)
3 White Onions
1 cup Besciamella (recipe below)
1/3 cup Bread Crumbs
3 tbsp Prima Olive's Nocellara EVOO
1 oz Gruyere Cheese, grated
1/4 freshly grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
BESCIAMELLA (Béchamel Sauce)

25 gr Nocellara EVOO (2 tbsp.)
25 gr Flour 00 (or all-purpose unbleached) (3 tbsp.)
2.5 dl Whole Milk (1/4 cup)
1/3 freshly grated Nutmeg
Salt and Pepper
Preparation

HOW TO

1 Bring 4 cups of salted water to a boil.

2 Peel onions and cut into quarts. Place into boiling water (about 5 minutes before the fennel).

3 Clean the fennel and cut it into eights. Add to onion in boiling water and cook for 15 minutes, remove from water and set aside to cool off.

4 In a skillet, large enough to accommodate all ingredients, heat olive oil then mix together fennel and onion, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes while tossing, then remove from heat.

5 Preheat oven to 350Fº.

6 Prepare 1 cup of Besciamella (see recipe below).

7 lightly spread olive oil in  a 8” by 10” ovenproof pan or a 14″ cast iron pan, sprinkle with bread crumbs and layer half of onion and fennel.

8 Mix together Besciamella and Gruyere cheese, pour half of it on top of vegetables and season very lightly with some nutmeg.

9 Cook in the oven uncovered for about 25 minutes then broil for 3-5 minutes, until breadcrumbs are golden and toasty.

11 Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before portioning. Serve warm, garnished with a few fennel fronds and seasoned with freshly grated pepper.

BESCIAMELLA

1 In a medium size pot heat EVOO over a low flame, then sift the flour in and stir well.

2 Cook for a couple of minutes until ingredients start to lightly darken, slowly pour in the milk and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.

3 On a very slow fire cook until the sauce starts thickening (about 10 min), taste to adjust seasoning then remove from fire.

NOTES:

Besciamella cannot cool off in the pan it was made in otherwise it will stick. If you do not intend to use it right away, cool it off in a ceramic bowl. It also requires to be warmed up in a water bath, as microwave or stovetop will thicken it too much.

This recipe lands itself well to individual vessels for serving, like small cast iron pots.

You can assemble this recipe and freeze it for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook the day after as instructed.