Braised Fennel Gratin

I found this recipe online. I went looking for a fennel recipe and found this one authored by chef Brandon Chase Miller of the restaurant Stokes Adobe in Monterey. It was on the Earthbound Farms website, but here’s the restaurant website:

http://www.stokesrestaurant.com

Having been to this restaurant while on business travel during the winter – I had a fried green tomato sandwich that was out of this world, among other well-treated vegetable things – I figured his recipe would be worth a try. I was correct. It is very good, if you don’t mind the multi-step process it requires. I’ve changed one thing for ease of operations – I trimmed the v-notch out of the root after boiling to prevent any coming-apart problems.

This recipe requires you to make seasoned flour – that just means to add a liberal seasoning of salt and pepper to a small pile of flour. It’s the same thing you’d do if you were making fried chicken.

Ingredients:

4 fennel bulbs
1 T. lemon juice
salt and pepper
flour
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 t. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375°

Add lemon juice to 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Salt generously. Cut off fennel stalks and discard. Cut fennel bulbs lengthwise through the root, leaving flat sides. Cook fennel halves until tender (about 6 minutes). Drain. Cut a v-notch out of the root, leaving enough to hold it together. Then season between the layers of the bulbs with salt and pepper. While the fennel is still hot and slightly wet, roll them in seasoned flour. Heat vegetable oil in shallow fry pan over medium to medium-high heat and fry fennel until brown on both sides. Arrange fennel in gratin dish. Pour cream over and sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake for 25 minutes covered, then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes. Serve at once.

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