Monday, February 20, 2012
Fennel and Olive Gratin
This is a nice side if you have some time...the fresh fennel really mellows with the roasting and the kalamatas and parmesan give the casserole a little oomph!
2 large fresh fennel bulbs, cleaned and cut into 1 to 2 inch wedges
1/3 cup half and half
4 ounces mascarpone cheese (I think cream cheese would be just fine)
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan, divided
10 kalamata olives, halved
In a medium sauce pan, boil the fennel wedges for about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a small sauce pan bring the half and half up to a simmer, add the mascarpone, fennel powder, salt and pepper and heat until the mascarpone melts. Off the heat, stir in 1/2 cup of the parmesan.
Arrange the fennel in a smallish baking dish (8x8 or 10x10) and pour the warm mixture over .
Dot with the olive halves and sprinkle another 1/2 cup of parmesan over.
Cover and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes.
Raise the oven temp to 400F, sprinkle with that last 1/2 cup of parmesan and bake another 15 minutes or so until you get a little browning. Serve nice and warm.