Hello there, folks! Mark Zoch here from The Dinner Dude, and today I’m thrilled to share with you a dish that’s close to my heart – Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel. If you’re a fan of comfort food with a gourmet twist, then buckle up because this one’s a game-changer. Fennel has always been a favorite of mine. Its unique anise-like flavor and crunchy texture make it a versatile ingredient that can truly shine in a variety of dishes. But when it comes to Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel, we’re talking about a whole new level of deliciousness.
Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel recipe
Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel
- 4 medium fennels
- Extra virgin olive oil
- A spoon of butter
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Grated bread
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the besciamelle
- 50 gr butter
- 35 gr white flour
- 1/2 lt milk
- 1 pinch grated nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- Wash the fennels carefully and divide them into 4 parts: put some water to boil and cook the fennels for about 20 minutes. Once they are ready take them out of the water and put them aside.
- Take a baking pan, lay the fennels inside the pan, and add grated bread, grated parmesan, oil , salt and pepper. Add some little pieces of butter in the corners of the pan and one on each part of the cut fennel. Put the pan into the oven, 150°C ventilated oven, let them cook for about 25 - 30 minutes.
- When they are brown and crusty, take them out of the oven.
- While the fennels are cooking, start preparing the bechamel, which must be creamy but not too thick; this is why we use a little less flour than in the classic recipe.
- Put the butter in a pot and when it has melted, add the flour, start stirring and add the milk, continuing to stir. Add the nutmeg and a little bit of salt.
- Continue to stir. When the bechamel starts to boil, get it to the right consistency and turn the flame off. If there are some lumps, use the mixer to correct, at a minimum speed.
- Serve it warm as a base for the fennels and lay them on it enriching the dish decoration with some pepper.
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Alternate Cooking Method for “Fennel au Gratin” using a seasoned béchamel sauce
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- In a large pot of salted boiling water, blanch the fennel slices for about 3-4 minutes until they are slightly tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour and stir continuously to make a roux. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the roux turns a light golden color.
- Gradually add the milk to the roux while stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture thickens and becomes a smooth béchamel sauce. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan and Gruyere cheeses into the béchamel sauce until they are fully melted. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and ground nutmeg to taste.
- In a greased baking dish, arrange the blanched fennel slices in an even layer.
- Pour the seasoned béchamel sauce over the fennel, making sure it covers the fennel evenly.
- In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with a little melted butter to moisten them. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top of the fennel and béchamel.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the fennel is tender.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired, and serve your Fennel au Gratin on a Seasoned Béchamel hot.
Tips for making Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel
Cooking fennel can be a bit tricky, but with these tips, you’ll master it in no time:
- When choosing fennel, look for bulbs that are clean, firm, and solid without signs of splitting.
- Always remove the tough core of the fennel bulb before cooking.
- Don’t discard the fronds! They can be used as a garnish or added to salads for extra flavor.
Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel is a versatile dish that can be served in numerous ways. Here are some of my personal favorites:
- As a side dish to a hearty meat main, like roast beef or lamb.
- Served with crusty bread for a comforting lunch.
- Paired with a crisp white wine for an elegant dinner.
- Can I use other vegetables for this recipe? Yes, you can substitute fennel with other root vegetables like parsnips or carrots.
- Can I make the bechamel sauce in advance? Absolutely! You can prepare the sauce up to two days ahead and store it in the fridge.
- Can I use a different type of cheese for the gratin? Sure! While traditional gratin uses Gruyere, feel free to experiment with other types of cheese.
- How do I store leftover Fennel au gratin? Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and consume within 2-3 days.
- Can I reheat the Fennel au gratin? Yes, you can reheat it in the oven at a low temperature to maintain its creamy texture.
And there you have it – Fennel au gratin on a seasoned bechamel, a dish that’s sure to impress your guests and satisfy your comfort food cravings. Remember, cooking is all about creativity, so don’t hesitate to put your own spin on this recipe. Enjoy!