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Fresh fennel, which looks a little like celery, has a light licorice flavor and a celerylike texture. This classic gratin of fennel, baked in bechamel sauce and topped with grated cheese, is well suited to dressier meals.
- Two 1 pound fennel bulbs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons margarine or butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 2/3 cups half and half, light cream or milk
- 1/3 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere cheese
- 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
- 1 tablespoon fine dry bread crumbs
Trim the fennel stalks to within 1 inch of the bulb, reserving some of the feathery leaves. Quarter the bulbs, then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces. (You should have 4 cups sliced fennel.) Place in a steamer basket over boiling water, cover, and steam for about 10 minutes or till tender. Transfer to a 2-quart rectangular baking dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, melt the margarine or butter. Stir in the flour and cook 1 minute. Add half-and-half, light cream or milk; cook and stir over medium heat till thickened and bubbly. Add the Swiss or Gruyere cheese; stir till melted. Remove from heat. Pour the sauce evenly over the fennel in the baking dish.
In a small bowl, stir together the Parmesan or Romano cheese and bread crumbs; sprinkle over the top. Cover and bake in a preheated 375 degrees F oven for 25-30 minutes, or till hot and bubbly. Garnish with reserved fennel leaves, if desired.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Owen. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
231 calories; 16g total fat; 47mg cholesterol; 248mg sodium; 18g carbohydrates; 5g fiber; 7g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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