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Fennel, Red Onion, and Parmigiano Gratin

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Serves 8 to 10

  • by Liz Pearson from Fine Cooking
    Issue 120

Pernod, an anise-flavored liqueur, bolsters the fennel’s flavor in this rustic gratin topped with coarse whole-wheat crumbs.

  • 1-1/2 oz. (3 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more at room temperature for the dish
  • 4 medium fennel bulbs (about 4 …lb.), trimmed, halved lengthwise, cored, and sliced lengthwise 1/4-in. thick, plus 1/4 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1-1/2 cups coarse fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 oz. finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (3/4 …cup using a rasp grater)
  • 1/4 cup Pernod
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Butter a 9x13-inch (or similar) baking dish.

On a large, rimmed baking sheet, toss the fennel with 2 Tbs. of the oil, the vinegar, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Spread in a single layer and roast, stirring once or twice, until golden-brown, about 35 minutes. Transfer to the prepared dish. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter and the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bay leaves, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2… Tbs. butter and pour into a medium bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano, and 2 Tbs. of the fennel fronds and toss well.

Add the Pernod to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits, and continue to cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in the heavy cream, the remaining 2 Tbs. fennel fronds, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes to infuse; discard the bay leaves.

Spoon the cream mixture over the fennel, scatter the breadcrumb mixture over the top, and bake until the fennel is tender when pierced with a fork and the breadcrumbs are browned, about 30 minutes.

Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 260; Fat (g): 16; Fat Calories (kcal): 150; Saturated Fat (g): 8; Protein (g): 5; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6; Carbohydrates (g): 23; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1; Sodium (mg): 400; Cholesterol (mg): 45; Fiber (g): 6;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Awesome! This recipe was great. Used Dry Sherry instead of Pernod but it was still a huge hit at our dinner party!

Wow...this was delicious! I did not have Pernod, but used sherry instead and the flavors worked so well together. Thanks!

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