What do you think of when you hear fennel au gratin? Forget heavy butter and bechamel, say hello to healthy ingredients and a twist on Italian taste!
Perfect as a light lunch or as a fancy side dish, this reinvented fennel au gratin will surprise you with the pungent taste of the Pecorino and the turmeric’s slighlty bitter aftertaste.
Serves: 2 | Preparation time: 5 mins | Cooking time: 20- 25 mins
- Pecorino cheese: 60 g
- Turmeric powder: 2 tbsp
- Fennels, medium-sized: 2
- Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): to taste
- Salt and pepper: to taste
Pre-heat the oven at 180° C.
Grate the Pecorino in a bowl and mix it with the turmeric powder and some freshly ground black pepper. Set it aside.
Rinse the fennel under cold running water and dry them with a clean kitchen cloth. Clean the fennel by cutting off the green stems, the leaves and the hard bottom, then chop the rest in thin slices.
Heat up some water in a pot and as soon as it starts to simmer add the fennel. Boil the fennel for about 5 minutes or until it’s soft, then drain it and transfer it on a plate.
Take a large and deep baking dish and lay the fennel slices on the bottom in an even layer. Sprinkle the Pecorino and turmeric mixture on top of the fennel and drizzle some olive oil on top. Mind that the Pecorino is particularly intense in taste, so add salt only if you deem it really necessary.
Proceed by creating layers of fennel slices and covering them with the grated pecorino. Don’t forget to garnish the last layer with cheese, as well, so that it browns in the oven.
Bake at 180° C for 10 minutes and serve still hot.
Tip: Don’t throw away the green parts of the fennel! Although they don’t fit in this recipe, you can use them to add flavour to other dishes: the leaves are excellent to garnish a pasta or even to mix in a salad, whilst you can chop up the stems and add them to any fish preparation.