Saturday, September 25, 2010
Roasted Garlic and Fennel on Bread
We made the decision that this moving process is going to be different. So far, like most resolutions, we're still struggling with it, but I have hope. My little contribution to our goal has been (what a surprise!) making food. When one of us starts getting fatigued and cranky from packing, I know this is my cue to head to the kitchen and not come out until I have something yummy in hand. Today, this was our little lifesaver.
Even if you are not a big fennel fan, when it's baked like this and then nestled between fresh tomatoes and roasted garlic, you can't go wrong. This involves minimal prep, which is perfect if you happen to be cooking amongst large stacks of moving boxes. Enjoy!
1 loaf of fresh bread (I love rosemary)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
four bulbs of garlic
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
salt and pepper
dried basil and oregano
Remove loose outer leaves. Cut off tops of bulbs so that each clove is open at the top. Drizzle a little olive oil over each bulb. Set the bulbs in the center of a garlic baking dish (if you have one) and cover the the lid.
Place in a cold oven and bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 45 minutes or until garlic is tender and husks are golden brown. Add more olive oil as necessary.
Select a heavy roasting pan or large gratin dish. Remove any fennel fronds. Cut the top stalks from the fennel and reserve for stock (or juice!). Slice the base into thin slices - it's best to have a very sharp knife for this.
Set in the roasting pan, seasoning lightly with salt and drizzling with olive oil. The fennel does not have to fit in a single layer. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake alongside the garlic at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove the foil for the last 15 minutes to let the flavors heighten.
Cut into 1-inch slices. After you have pulled the garlic and fennel from the oven, place the bread slices directly on the racks for 5-8 minutes to heat. Leave it in for 5 minutes if you like softer bread, 8 minutes if you like it a bit harder.
Once you have warmed your bread and given the garlic a chance to cool, remove the garlic from its skin and spread a few cloves over each bread slice. Top with a layer of roasted fennel and a few fresh tomatoes. Sprinkle with dried basil, oregano, salt, and pepper to taste. Drizzle with more olive oil and balsamic vinegar.