Fennel Vision

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Last spring was full of changes in the work front and lots of plans for the summer as well as nursing a very broken heart on top of the mother of all flus. Frankly, don’t know which was worse… One of the things I did, but failed to blog about in my ailing condition, was a fennel gratin I’d stumbled on in Paris – in no lesser place than the impressively domed restaurant at Printemps.

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The fennels were a side dish to some nice salmon. What was exquisite about them was that it was basically a whole fennel, halved, and coated lightly with Pecorino cheese. So simple and delicate in taste, yet incredibly satisfying.

I googled lots of different fennel gratin recipes but found nothing quite similar. So I looked into different ways of cooking fennel. I found that boiling fennel in a mixture of milk and water was typical. So I took a halved fennel and cooked it in milk and water for about 6 minutes. Then I put the halves in a glass baking dish and sprinkled with grated Pecorino. The oven was on at about 180 degrees Celsius and the fennels baked for about a half an hour to 45 minutes. I actually can’t remember. But the key is the fennels should be soft but still a tiny bit firm when they come out.

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Of course fennels are delicious in a traditional gratin as well. Here’s a nice recipe I tried later (with oven-baked salmon).

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4784/fennel-gratin

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