Celery and Fennel Gratin

Creamy fennel sauce

  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into small dice
  • 6 filets of anchovies packed in oil and minced
  • 3 tbsp. of butter
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
  • ¼ tsp. fennel seed
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 ¼ cups half and half
  • 34 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup panko crumbs

Gratin

  • 8 large celery stalks, cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
  • 1 small leek, white and light green part, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise about ½ inch
  • 4 tbsp. butter

 

  • In a large sauté pan sauté the fennel and anchovy in the butter until the fennel softens. Stir in

he white pepper and ground fennel. Add the flour and cook a few minutes to let the flour lose that floury taste. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the half and half and cook a few minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Place the cooked mixture in a blender, add the remaining quarter cup of half and half and puree until smooth. Set aside.

 

In a large sauté pan sauté the celery and leek in the butter just until the leek softens a bit (about 6 to 7 minutes) Place the celery/ leek mixture into a 9 x9 inch baking dish and pour the fennel sauce over. Bake in a pre heated 350F oven, covered for about 45 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes or more until the sauce thickens. Combine the cheese and panko and sprinkle over the casserole. Increase the oven temp to 425F and bake another 15 minutes or so. Let the casserole rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

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