July 11, 2017
Hi Everyone! I hope your Independence Day holiday was a blast.
This week we are getting fennel and Swiss chard, both of which can go into today’s recipe. Fennel is not universally popular – I hate it myself, just as I hate anything that tastes even slightly like licorice. You will never catch me drinking Sambucca or Ouzo. Never. But, this dish is a way to ease into the world of fennel. The fennel flavor is subtle here, so it’s not half bad.
GRATIN OF FENNEL, SWISS CHARD AND WHITE BEANS
- 5 TBS unsalted butter
- 1 large bulb fennel, cored, and sliced thin (about 3 cups)
- 1 large onion, sliced thin (about 1 1/2 cups)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 TBS)
- 3 bunches Swiss chard (about 1 lb), leaves removed, tender stems sliced thinly
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 TBS flour
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs
- 2 ounces finely grated parmesan or romano cheese (about 1 cup)
This is How You Do It
Adjust your oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large sauce pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the fennel and onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat if it starts to brown. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until it is fragrant, about 30 seconds.3. Add 1/3 of the Swiss chard and cook, stirring, until it is wilted, about 1 minute. Repeat with the remaining Swiss chard in two more batches. Add the nutmeg and flour and stir to combine. Add the half and half, stir to combine, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Add the beans and reduce to a bare simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.4. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Toss the breadcrumbs, the butter and the cheese in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.5. Season the filling with salt and pepper, and then transfer to a large casserole dish, top with the breadcrumbs, and bake until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges, about 30 minutes.6. Remove from the oven, let rest about 10 minutes, and serve.
This makes a nice light supper, accompanied by a crisp green salad.
Note: You don’t have to use canned beans, and you don’t have to use canned white beans. Any of the dried beans offered by our farmers would be great in this dish. You just have to soak them overnight before cooking them.
I hope you enjoy this dish and all the other vegetables in your share. Have a delicious week!