Monday, January 08, 2007

Garlic and Vermouth Fennel Gratin

Dry vermouth is one of those secret ingredients that no one really mentions, but it's a wonderful addition to almost any recipe. I love to cook with vermouth, as it provides such a great full flavor. Since vermouth is basically white wine, flavored with herbs and spices, it can be used in any recipe calling for sherry, or recipes calling for white wine. I used it to carmelize the leeks in the Carmelized Leek, Blue Cheese, and Grilled Pear Pizza, which added that great herbaceous flavor.

This is a simple recipe, takes about 5 minutes to prepare before popping in the oven, yet it has such a lovely and filling flavor you'll swear it took longer. If you haven't cooked with fennel or dry vermouth yet, this is a perfect starter recipe that will have you adding them to your normal cooking rotations.

Garlic & Vermouth Fennel Gratin

Garlic and Vermouth Fennel Gratin

2-3 large heads fennel (sometimes called anise)
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 tbsp butter
1 c dry vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 425. Cut off tops and bottom inch of fennel bulbs, and slice into 1/4" thick pieces. Place in baking dish, along with garlic and butter, and pour vermouth over top. Tear off a piece of parchment paper, run under cold water, and scrunch up into a ball. Open paper, and tuck it snugly around fennel in dish (this will help to steam the fennel). Place in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. If desired, top with 1/3 c freshly grated parmesan cheese, place under broiler, and broil until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve as a side dish, or serve over toasted hearty wheat bread.


Plume said...

I must try that!
I don't know how vermouth taste, but I don't like cooked fenels generaly, perhaps this recipe would do...

Anonymous said...

I love having dry vermouth around. I use it to wave in the general direction of vodka for martinis, and then have the rest of the bottle around for cooking. It's great stuff -- I agree.

I would have never thought of this combination, though -- thanks for sharing it, and I'll definitely give it a try!

The Inadvertent Gardener

Catherine said...

this looks very tasty. I'll have to give the fennel a try.

Valerie said...

I've never had fennel and I've never cooked with vermouth, and this looks so good, I think I'll have to try it. Your food photography is amazing!

Harmonia said...

Looks terrific! I am always interested in ways to do fennel!

Ziz said...

I've been wanting to try out fennel since I've seen Ina use it so often. This sounds amazing! Beautiful pic too :)

eviedee said...

Ooooh finally a reason to drag my sorry self into the kitchen! Thanks 28 Cooks!

Fiber said...

Plume - you have to give it a try. I don't care for fennel raw, since it has that black licorice taste, but baked fennel doesn't seem to have it.

Genie - I agree. It's fabulous for cooking.

Catherine - if you do try it, let me know how it turns out.

Too Fond - thanks for the compliments!

Harmonia - what other ways have you made it before?? I'm always looking for new ways too!

Alicat - thanks for the compliment! I think you'll really like it.

Eviedee - heh. Keep looking around for plenty more reasons! =)