I tried this for dinner tonight and thought it was wonderful! I’ve tried several recipes from here and have enjoyed them all.
We used to make a version of this using plenty of butter and lashings of cream. Don’t get me wrong, it was delicious, but for me at least, too rich to eat more than once in a blue moon. I’ve been wanting for a while now to try a pared-down version, using less dairy. Well, I finally got around to it, and I think it was great – steaming the fennel before it goes in the oven guarantees that each piece cooks down to succulent, juicy perfection. The shallots add little bursts of sweetness and the parmesan crust adds just enough contrast in texture and taste (I kept the cheese pretty minimal – I bet it would be good with even more…)
I add fennel seeds because I love aniseedy flavours and tend to find myself trying to boost, rather than subdue them. Cooking fennel like this turns the volume down on that…
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