We love fennel, especially roasted and so when I saw this recipe in the November issue of Martha Stewart Living, I knew it was just a matter of time before I tried it. I know, I recently mentioned I’m not a huge lover of this magazine, but I have to admit that this issue has more than a few recipes that I want to try. This was the recipe that actually enticed me into buying this magazine.
This is an easy appetizer and who doesn’t like a hot dip served with crostini? I’m giving you the recipe as it was in the magazine. Although everyone really liked it, I don’t think it had quite enough fennel taste. I actually decreased the amount of garlic to 2 cloves (from 4) and I’m glad I did, since as good as roasted garlic is, it is a stronger flavor than the fennel and could easily overpower the dish. Maybe next time I’ll throw a little crushed fennel seed into the mix.
Warm Fennel and Parmensan Dip
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1″ wedges
4 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons parmesan (I used Parmigiano-Reggiano)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a large, heavy ovenproof skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add fennel, pressing down so that most of it fits snugly in a single layer. Add the garlic to the skillet. Brown fennel on one side for 4 minutes. Flip and sprinkle lightly with salt. Cover with foil and transfer to oven. Roast until the fennel is very tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Puree the fennel and the garlic in a food processor until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Transfer mixture to an oven proof baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake until the dip is hot in the center and the cheese is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately with crostini.
Fennel photo is borrowed.