Saturday, November 12, 2011

fennel white bean gratin with parmesan and lemon

happy saturday to ju!

i love getting life tips from people. elder wise people, little kids, funny people who have lived funny lives. i will take all the life tips i can get right now.

do you have any for me? please! i want your tips. i want to live this life right.

here are some for you:

if you are feeling stressed, go in the kitchen and make muffins. whatever kind you want. then see if you are still as frantically stressed. if you still are...then whatever, you have warm muffins on the countertop to help you through it.

don't put vodka in water bottles. tomorrow you will have completely forgotten, reach for the water and take a hefty swig.

finger toothbrush is totally acceptable at sleepovers. and on that note, one is never too old for sleepovers.

triscuts. keep eating triscuts people.

gloomy days can be the most lovely. turn on some tunes and relish in the gloom.

nine dollars is a lot for nail polish, i know. it's worth it.

sometimes the most unphotogenic things are the most scrumptiously delicious.

also. bread crumbs make great things even more great.

exhibit A. this fennel gratin. not cute to look at.

but it's beautiful on the inside and has a rockin personality.

gratins that i've met and liked: all of them.

they're easy and elegant and total happy food.

as a small baby, i would make happy noises when i ate.

when gratin is on my plate, i channel my old baby self. i try to internalize the happy noises though. because i'm definitely not cute like a baby and that'd be extra weird.

fennel needs to happen way more. so. can i interest you in some fennel?

what if it includes cheese and white beans and crunchy lemon zesty bread crumbs?

and because i want arugula with pretty much everything always...

a stellar meal indeed.
you'll love and adore it. even if fennel hasn't completely won you over yet.

a gratin for dinner! this is the best

Fennel White Bean Gratin with Parmesan and Lemon
adapted from Bon Appetit Nov 2010, recipe here

5 tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
4 large fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
1 (15 oz) can cannelini beans, or other white bean, drained and washed
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream or half and half
2 tbsp chopped fresh italian parsley
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

Bread Crumb topping:
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1 cup parmesan, grated
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp fresh italian parsley, chopped
grated zest of one lemon

* i used a large 12 inch cast iron skillet. you can also use a large pot over the stove and then just transfer the mixture to a baking dish when ready to go in the oven.

heat 5 tbsp oil in a large cast iron skillet or wide pot over medium heat. add onion and garlic and saute until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. add fennel and saute until fennel is slightly softened and beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 18 minutes. stir in broth, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until most of the broth is absorbed, about 5 minutes. let cool. 
preheat oven to 400. stir white beans into fennel mixture. if not using a cast iron pan, transfer mixture to ceramic baking dish. drizzle cream or half and half over the cooled fennel bean mixture. in a small bowl. combine all ingredients for bread crumb topping. distribute topping evenly over fennel. bake for about 20 minutes, until gratin is hot and bubbly and the top is deep golden. serve warm with arugula


  1. I have never had fennel before. I heard it has very very good health implications! this one looks yum too!

  2. Made this recipe on the weekend and it is definitely a keeper. We couldn't get enough of it. I have a list of your recipes to make in the next coming weeks. I love your blog, please keep it up and thank you for sharing.

  3. yes i am so happy! you are a dear!