Monday, November 12, 2012

Crispy Creamy Fennel Gratin

Potato gratin is one of my favorite celebratory side dishes, but sometimes it's fun to switch it up (whether it's a holiday or not).  This gratin replaces the potatoes with thinly sliced fennel, which is a veggie I love and use all the time.  It's great raw in salads, and it's a great substitute for celery in pretty much everything if you're not a celery fan (like me).  This gratin is yet another use for this versatile vegetable.  Despite all the cream, the dish feels much lighter than a potato gratin, with tender slices of fennel in cream sauce covered with a blanket of Parmesan bread crumbs.  Serve this next to simple roasted meat or as part of a holiday side dish spread, and it's sure to add something special to your meal.

Crispy Creamy Fennel Gratin (adapted from Serious Eats, original recipe here)
Serves 4

2 large fennel bulbs, thinly sliced (I used a food processor)
1 cup heavy cream
2 T water
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 T chopped parsley
1 T olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with oil.
2. In a large skillet or pot, combine the fennel, cream, and water.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Transfer to the casserole dish.
3. While the fennel-cream mixture is coming to a simmer, mix together the panko, Parmesan, parsley, and olive oil in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper, and mix to combine.  Sprinkle over the fennel
4. Place the dish on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Bake until the topping is golden and crisp, 30 minutes.


  1. Fennel is definitely growing on me, but big pieces still can be too much for me! This recipe does sound pretty delicious though...

  2. I've never used it, always want to. This looks tasty.

  3. OK, my brain translated this title as Krispy Kreme Fennel Gratin. Ha ha! This looks great!

  4. I've never thought of fennel as a substitute for celery (my husband's crazy about celery) but so glad to know that it works. We love fennel. This looks totally delicious.

  5. I will trust you that this gratin tastes delicious as I do not care for fennel.

  6. I love fresh fennel and love gratins, so I'll definitely make this sometimes during the holidays. And I, too, never thought of fennel as a substitute for celery!

  7. This looks like a delicious way to showcase fennel.

  8. This looks delicious. I love fennel.

  9. Today I had some stir-fried fennel with bell pepper for the lunch. Love fennel! Your gratin looks fantastic too.

  10. What what!? Fennel gratin? GENIUS! Looks delicious. Totally bookmarked :)

  11. I keep trying to get myself to really like's a process. I think I could LOVE it in gratin form though!