BRAISED FENNEL & RADICCHIO WITH MELTED FONTINA
"ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS…
FINOCCHI E RADDICHI BRASATI"
Fennel is completely transformed when braised in butter and wine. After around thirty minutes it becomes silky in texture and golden in colour. The feather-like radicchio, Tardivo di Treviso, on the other hand, requires more delicate handling, and will lose its colour if left too long in the pan. Pop it at the very end just before the adding the deliciously melty Fontina…
(Serves 4 as a side)
- 1 bulb of fennel – thickly sliced
- 3 heads of radicchio (I’ve used Treviso Tardivo)
- 50g butter
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- One large glass of dry white wine
- 150ml vegetable stock
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 75g of Fontina cheese
- Crusty bread sliced thickly to serve
Heat the butter and olive oil together over medium heat in a heavy-based pan. Add the slices of fennel and fry until golden on both sides.
Splash in the wine, and allow to sauté for around 2 minutes, before adding the vegetable stock, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Bring briefly to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and allow to cook slowly for 30 minutes, or until the fennel is silky and golden. Top up with vegetable stock if the pan dries out during this time – it is nice to keep things a little on the liquid-y side creating a delicious buttery sauce to be mopped up with bread!
While the fennel is cooking, pre-heat the grill to medium, and grate the Fontina ready to sprinkle over the top and melt.
Prepare the Treviso tardivo by cutting off the stems that join the curled leaves together. Separate out the individual ‘fingers’ and toss these into the pan, along with the lemon juice, jiggling everything around to coat.
Cook for a few minutes, until the radicchio is a touch softened, but not discoloured, then scatter with cheese and pop under the pre-heated grill.
When the cheese is melted and bubbling, you’re ready serve, with crusty bread close at hand for juice-mopping!