|Fennel and Parmesan Spread|
The holidays are just around the corner–ahem, Thanksgiving is just weeks away–and most people are in the market for a delicious appetizer, I decided to bring my Fennel and Parmesan spread back for an encore.
Of course, I have other reasons. I just finished catering a party for 175 people at a local art gallery last night, and after hand rolling 175 truffles–and then dipping them in chocolate–my fingers aren’t so nimble today.
That’s another story entirely, though, because I’ve discovered that catering is a lot like live theater and anything that can go awry will. Period. So, I wake up this morning with nothing but gratitude for Mr. B and his willingness to roll up his sleeves and get me through whatever I manage to get myself into–with amazing results. He definitely plays Ricky to my crazy Lucy episodes.
So, back to the catering event. I decided to put this number on the menu simply because it really is a fabulous little workhorse of an appetizer and people love it. I swear, I get more requests for this recipe than I can count. You don’t need an oven to pull it off either, for it cooks wonderfully in a crockpot and you can whip up enough to serve an army. It’s perfect with sourdough bread and a glass of white wine and it will go equally well with a Thanksgiving turkey or a Christmas roast.
Make this. You won’t be sorry–and neither will your guests.
3 medium sized fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
4 T unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 small yellow onion, finely minced
3 T ground fennel seed
1/2 cup of white vermouth
1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, finely grated (Please don’t use the stuff in the can)
In a heavy skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and fennel and cook until the onion is golden and the fennel begins to caramelize. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the fennel is soft. Add the ground fennel seed and the white vermouth. Cook until the vermouth evaporates. Turn off heat and let cool.
In a food processor, process the fennel mixture until finely chopped, but not completely smooth. Transfer mixture to a buttered oven-proof dish and stir in the parmesan cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with a bit more parmesan cheese and bake at 350º until bubbly and brown.
Serve with thin slices of fresh sourdough bread.