- Ready Time : 0 min
Creamy Fennel Sauce
- 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into a small dice
- 6 filets of anchovies packed in oil and minced
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1/4 tablespoon ground fennel seed
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/4 cups half and half
For the Gratin
- 8 Large stalks celery, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 small leek, white and light green part, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise about 1/2 inch
- 4 tablespoons butter
- The Creamy Fennel Sauce
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup panko crumbs
In a large saute pan saute the fennel and anchovy in the butter until the fennel softens.Stir in the white pepper and ground fennel.
Add the flour and cook a few minutes to let the flour lose that floury taste. Slowly stir in 1 cup of the half and half and cook a few minutes until the sauce thickens a bit.
Place the cooked mixture in a blender, add the remaining quarter cup of half and half and puree until smooth. Set aside.
For the Gratin:
In a large saute pan saute the celery and leek in the butter just until the leek softens a bit (about 6 to 7 minutes)
Place the celery/ leek mixture into a 9 x9 inch baking dish and pour the fennel sauce over. Bake in a pre heated 350F oven, covered for about 45 to 50 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes or more until the sauce thickens .
Combine the cheese and panko and sprinkle over the casserole. Increase the oven temp to 425F and bake another 15 minutes or so. Let the casserole rest 5 to 10 minutes before serving.