Even a glimpse of those black chewy tubes and ropes would send shivers up my spine. Their flavour so distinct, the colour an outright indicator of something not to be eaten. They were always the candies that were received with a wry smile and then left buried at the bottom of the drawer. The association of that taste with any other food would leave me wary of it. Then the juicy crispness and sweet bright flavour of fennel found its way onto my plate and I’ve been hooked. Still, licorice be damned.
Sometimes, I’ve found my fork wandering over to the baked fennel more than the chicken. Sometimes half of the dish makes it onto my plate…
Fennel Baked with Cream and Vermouth
Serves 4-6, 1 hr and 20 minutes
- 3 lb fennel (approximately two bulbs)
- 1/4 cup vermouth
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk, whole
- 3 twigs tarragon
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
Heat oven to 425°C. Remove tough outer leaves and trim off tops and end. Slice into 1 inch segements and arrange in baking dish. To slow down curdling, when oven is ready, pour vermouth, heavy cream and milk over fennel. Salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle tarragon leaves over evenly. Cover and bake in oven for 30 minutes.
Remove cover and sprinkle grated parmesan. Bake another 35 minutes or until liquid has significantly reduced and edges are well browned.