Fennel Dip- Forget What You Know About Wheat(c)

Baked Fennel Dip      Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Fennel Dip is delightfully creamy with deliciously unique flavor.  Fennel Dip will tantalize your guests wonderful as an appetizer for gatherings and is equally enjoyable as a side dish.  The fennel bulbs are simmered in milk long enough to break down their rough fibers and subdue their flavor.  I then whirl in a food processor to further break them down.  Once the fennel are prepped, make a quick cream sauce using the milk from the fennel simmer, the milk does not need to be full fat (I used 2%).  Fennel is often called Finocchio by Italians and can often be found on veggie trays in place of celery in many homes.  Occasionally fennel is seen in markets as “anise”, which is misnomer.  Aniseed comes from two related plants, which are not bulbous, and have a far more intense flavor than fennel.  Fennel dip takes a bit of time, but the recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, freezing well for future use.  This recipe, in its most genuine state, calls for Fontina or Scamorza cheese.  I live in a dairy state which produces amazing cheddar; I often use Vermont Cheddar in place of some European melting cheeses due to proximity, value and flavor. 

Yields the interior of a 6 x 5 Baking Dish

1 ½ pounds Fennel Bulbs

1 ½ cups Cow’s Milk

1 tablespoon Butter

1 tablespoon White Rice Flour

2 tablespoons Grated Parmesan or Locatelli Cheese

¼ cup gluten free unflavored Bread Crumbs*

3 ounces Shredded Cheese (Scamorza or Fontina or Vermont Cheddar)

Salt & Pepper

Prep the fennel bulbs:  Cut off the leaves and the shoots,  peel off the out damaged bulb layer and then roughly chop into large pieces.  Preheat the oven to 370 degrees.

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Place fennel in a sauce pan with the cold milk and slowly bring to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for  15 minutes, until tender enough to be cut with a fork.

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Use a slotted spoon and remove the fennel to a food processor.  Process a few pulses, add the grated cheese and the salt and pepper, process again a few pulses.  Retrieve the milk and set aside.


Prepare the cream sauce:  Melt the butter on low in a saucepan and vigorously whisk in the ceci flour.  The pan needs to be warm, but not too hot or the butter will brown. When the flour has significantly thickened the butter, begin to gently pour some milk (a bit at a time), vigorously whisking between additions.  Allow the milk to thicken via whisking with each addition.

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Butter a baking dish; place the fennel mash from the food processor into the dish.  Place the mash in the dish evenly but not smoothly, leave space for the other ingredients to gather.

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Add all of the cream sauce, followed by half of the shredded cheese, half the breadcrumb, then the remaining shredded cheese and the remaining breadcrumb.

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Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve hot or room temperature.

“Fennel Dip” by Liz Conforti, Forget What You Know About Wheat(c) 2014

*Read more about Gluten Free Bread Crumbs and how to easily make your own!

Serve with Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Cannellini Crackers

cannellini bean crackers

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