Braised fennel with butter and parmezan; Cooking Italy
As I briefly mentioned yesterday I had a bit of an unusual sidedish to my carrotsoup. We had fennel on the schedule for Cooking Italy this week, a group led by our lovely Angela of Spinach Tiger, where we try and recreate some of the recipes of Marcella Hazan’s book the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. And I love fennel so I was really looking forward to this recipe..
However; as you may recall from the Crespelle ‘disaster’, my guy has an issue with cheese in his food and…you guessed it from the title; this lovely dish has cheese in it… Gorgeous fresh Parmesan, my favorite cheese! So while I bought the fennel bulb this week I hadn’t found a day where I could sneak it in. We’ve both been too busy and there was hardly any cooking done, but yesterday was my only day of this week and – as a bonus – Tom would not be eating at home! (don’t get me wrong…. I normally really like to have him home for dinner! lol… Just not for cheese nights!) But since my stomach was troubling me yesterday I wanted to eat something simple and healthy, so I made the carrot soup.
And I made the fennel, since fennel – if you didn’t know this – is very good for your stomach! Maybe all the butter and cheese that goes in it, is not, but ok… you gotta compromise a little every now and then, right?
So I made the fennel; it’s really incredibly simple and it was easily the BEST fennel dish I have ever tasted! I could tell from the smell while it was cooking that it would be good, but the taste was even better then I had thought it would be. The recipe tells me that there should be no water left after the cooking period, but I still had some left, so I just lifted the fennel out of the pan and on to a little plate, added a little sprinkling of seasalt on top and a bit more Parmesan and just ate it like that.
And it was good! Seriously, very very good! Marcella has a version without the Parmesan but I actually think it was the Parmesan that made this so delicious. And… ahum… I actually dipped the little pieces in some grated Parmesan that I had by the side. I did tell you I am a cheese addict right? 🙂
- 3 fennel bulbs
- 50 gr butter
- 3 tbsp parmesan
- rind of the parmesan optional
Cut the fennel tops where they meet the bulb and discard them. Check if the outer parts are damaged and discolored and if so remove them. Slice about 3 mm of the end. Cut the bulb vertically into slices of roughly 1 cm thick and wash them in cold water.
Put the fennel and the butter into a large saucepan, add just enough water to cover and turn the heat to medium. Don't cover. Let it cook very slowly for about 25-40 minutes. I added the rind of the parmesan to it which gave it an even cheesier taste.
If the liquid becomes too little in the pan you can add a little bit of water if needed. The end of the slice will be firmer than the top once cooked, but it should be soft enough.
Once cooked add salt and sprinkle with parmesan.