Posts Tagged ‘Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’

Fork Tender Fennel:) … it is delicious even at this stage… try a piece when you are making this dish ūüôā

Italian cuisine is one of my favorites!! I find it super rustic, but in a romantic sort of way… Now, don’t get me wrong, I love French cuisine, that is not romantic in a sort of way, heck’s fire that is just super charged romantic!!! Since I have worked at Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink, I have grown to LOVE fennel:) ¬†It turns out that everyone I know loves fennel too… they just don’t know it until I serve it to them:) ¬†At Michael’s I put fennel in some of the salads, and with the wood fire whole fish. ¬†Oh, that fish was an awesome dish. ¬†First the fennel was roasted in the wood fire oven. ¬†Then ¬†lemons are cut in half and grilled on the grill until they have nice black grill marks on them. Then the fish ( which was FRESHLY caught.. like a few hours ago..) was stuffed with thin slices of lemon & sprays of parsley then it was ¬†squirted with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkled with smoked fleur de sol and freshly ground pepper, then place in the wood fire oven to roast. ¬†When the fish was done it was placed on a large platter, then sprinkled with a little more smoked fleur de sol and fresh pepper and then the culinary fairy dust.. the fennel pollen. ¬†Then the fish was squirted with a bit of extra virgin olive oil… plated with two grilled lemon halves, some roasted fennel and a bit of fresh arugula ūüôā OHHH that was… is a tasty dish!!! Anyway.. back from memories from my internship… fennel.. Fennel is super¬†versatile. ¬†You can use it raw in salads or ¬†roast or bake ¬†it for a really mellow flavor. ¬†Since fennel’s flavor profile has such a range, it is a must try for any foodie! I made this recipe when I was inspired by an Italian book that had reasons fennel why was so fantastic & based the fact that I love fennel & I love Parmesan cheese.. AND I found an official Italian name for this dish… ūüôā

a little ps.. the photo at the top of my blog is of a fennel salad with apples, gray sea salt, extra virgin olive oil, edible flowers and mandolined fennel bulb:)

So here it is ūüôā

Finocchio Gratinato  aka  Baked Fennel with Parmesan Cheese

(adapted from Italian)

  • Fresh fennel bulbs (I had a huge one so I only used one.. but I would recommend about 2 or 3 normal sized fennel bulbs more of course if you are going to have company.)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • REAL Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Then wash your fennel. ¬†On a cutting board with a sharp knife cut the top off the bulb. ¬†Save the top for another use. ¬†It is really tasty just raw, or roasted or sliced with a mandoline… or juiced.

What a piece of whole fennel looks like.. side note.. this has a HUGE fennel bulb (the white part)

Then fill a medium sauce pan with water.  Add enough kosher salt to the water to make it salty.

Then place your fennel bulbs in the water.  (If you have a huge bulb like mine, cut it in half then place in the water.)

Turn the heat to high, once the water starts to boil, turn it down to a simmer.

Fennel simmering (since my fennel bulb was large I cut it in half)

Let the bulbs simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn the bulbs every 8 minutes or so.  (You want them fork tender.)  

Meanwhile, prepare your baking dish.  Squirt a little extra virgin olive oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the dish.

Also, grate your Parmesan Cheese with a grater.  Normally, I would grate this with a microplane but I like the bigger pieces that are a result of the grater.

Grated Parmesan Cheese (hint to make it easier… I usually grate my cheese on a cutting board, then if I need to cut the rind it is not a problem… and I can just dump contents on top of the cutting board into the dish:)

Once fork tender, take the fennel bulbs out of the water. (This water would make an awesome addition to a vegetable soup or to mashed potatoes or turnips.) Place fennel bulbs on a cutting board.

Cut the fennel vertically, into 2,4,or 6 pieces.  ( This depends on the size of your fennel, most fennel bulbs will be 2 or 4 pieces- you want pieces the size of an apple slice you would dip into caramel. )

Fennel after I cut it into pieces for the dish

Place the fennel bulb pieces in the prepared baking dish.  Lie the pieces on their sides.

Fennel lying on its side, just waiting for the Parmesan Cheese and more extra virgin olive oil

Then sprinkle enough Parmesan Cheese to cover the fennel slices.

Then squirt with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Fennel with Parmesan Cheese right before the oven:)

Place the dish in the 400 degree oven.

Let it bake for about 20- 25 minutes, until the cheese is completely melted.

Then serve:)  This makes a lovely side for any Italian dinner ( or any cuisine)  it is a light dish despite the Parmesan Cheese:)

Finocchio Gratinato finished & ready to eat!!

Here is a really cool website all about fennel called Fennel Friday- http://fennelfriday.com/health-benefits-of-fennel/

Fennel has many health benefits:) ¬†It is one of those¬†nutritiously¬†fantastic foods that is nutrient dense and caloric empty… (¬†unfortunately¬† too many people eat the opposite way- caloric dense and nutrient empty ūüė¶ ¬†..) ¬†Fennel is high in fiber, yet it does not cause gas or bloating, in fact it has ¬†anti- gas properties. ¬†Fennel is also high in¬†Vitamin C, Manganese, Molybdenum, Potassium and Folate ūüôā ¬†You can read more about fennel’s fantastic properties here at¬†¬†¬†http://www.naturalhealth365.com/tag/fennel-health-benefits

Here is a chart about fennel from the World’s¬†Healthiest¬†Foods Website ( this website is an excellent place to find information about foods that are good for you.) …¬†http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=23

1.00 cup raw
87.00 grams
26.97 calories
Nutrient Amount DV
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
vitamin C 10.44 mg 17.4 11.6 excellent
fiber 2.70 g 10.8 7.2 very good
potassium 360.18 mg 10.3 6.9 very good
manganese 0.17 mg 8.5 5.7 very good
folate 23.49 mcg 5.9 3.9 very good
molybdenum 4.35 mcg 5.8 3.9 very good
phosphorus 43.50 mg 4.3 2.9 good
calcium 42.63 mg 4.3 2.8 good
magnesium 14.79 mg 3.7 2.5 good
iron 0.64 mg 3.6 2.4 good
copper 0.06 mg 3.0 2.0 good
vitamin B3 0.56 mg 2.8 1.9 good
World’s Healthiest
Foods Rating
excellent DV>=75% OR
Density>=7.6 AND DV>=10%
very good DV>=50% OR
Density>=3.4 AND DV>=5%
good DV>=25% OR
Density>=1.5 AND DV>=2.5%

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