Fennel Gratin

Serves: 5 (scaled from 5)

Ingredients:

0.3 cup white wine
9 tbsp butter
5 oz gruyere
3 tsp garlic
2.5 cups milk
3 tbsp flour
0.8 cup stock
2 oz parmesan
4 large bulbs fennel
0.8 cup breadcrumbs

Method

Fennel
Chop stalks and fronds from fennel bulb, keeping the fronds. Quarter the bulbs and season them. Brown in oil and butter on each cut surface 3 min. Transfer to a casserole. Add stock and wine, simmer 20 to 25 mins. Drain.

Cheese sauce
Make white sauce with 3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp flour, milk. Add garlic paste to the roux. Add 3oz gruyere, season and thicken.

Topping
Melt rest of butter with breadcrumbs, rest of garlic paste and pepper. Brown lightly. Take off heat and stir in chopped fennel fronds

Assembly
Reheat cheese sauce if needed. Pour cheese sauce over drained fennel, add breadcrumbs and remaining cheeses. Bake 20 min at 180 C, finishing under grill. Can pour over reduced stock and wine with butter at end.

Notes

The large Le Creuset is perfect for this. Make garlic paste by grinding garlic with salt. Can make constituent parts 1 day ahead of time.

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