Saturday, December 1, 2012

Warm Fennel and Parmesan Dip

This is a great time of year to add another dip to your repertoire, especially a warm dip with cheese scattered on top that turns golden as it bakes. And, this is one of the simplest out there. Rather than mixing the primary ingredients with mayonnaise or sour cream as is customary, this dip is made up of pureed, roasted fennel and garlic. There are only four ingredients in this dip if you don’t count the salt and pepper, but those are four very flavorful ingredients that make the end result seem a lot more complicated. I saved this recipe from the Thanksgiving dinner story in the November 2010 issue of Living magazine. The dip was served as a starter along with kale chips with sea salt and lemon which were made in the usual way by chopping kale leaves, tossing with olive oil and salt, and then roasting until crisp. The twist was that when the kale chips came out of the oven, they were topped with lemon zest. I liked the idea of having crispy, lemony chips with the warm, rich dip. So, I served the dip already spread onto little toasted pieces of bread with a kale chip nestled on top and more chips piled in the middle of the platter of toasts.

You start by trimming and removing the core from three fennel bulbs and then chopping them into thick wedges. The fennel wedges are then browned in a skillet with extra-virgin olive oil. Four or five peeled, whole, and slightly smashed garlic cloves are added as the fennel browns. Then, the fennel is turned, seasoned, the skillet was covered with foil, and it’s placed in a 400 degree F oven for about 30 minutes. The fennel and garlic should become completely tender and sweet. Next, the roasted fennel and garlic was transferred to a food processor and pureed until smooth. Grated parmigiano reggiano was added and mixed in, and then you should taste for seasoning. The puree was scooped into a small baking dish and topped with more grated parmesan before it went back into the oven that had been turned up to 450. After about 20 minutes, the dip was warmed through, and the cheese on top was invitingly browned. I toasted some sliced, homemade, sourdough baguette as the dip baked, and popped the kale chips into the oven as the dip cooled a bit.

Mellow roasted garlic and fennel with the big flavor of parmesan makes for a delicious mix. With that much flavor, you'd never guess how short the ingredient list actually is. And, the hit of lemon on the kale chips was a nice, perky contrast to the savory dip. Since it’s easy to make the dip in advance, chill it, and bake it just before serving, this will definitely be a go-to recipe for holiday parties.


36 comments:

  1. A mouthwatering dip and loevly bread!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Oh I adore fennel! This looks fabulous - I'd be a happy camper if I went to somebody's house and they were serving this. :)

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  3. Sounds heavenly. Love the simple elegance.
    LL

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  4. This combination of flavours is perfect.

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  5. What a fantastic use for fennel. Pinning for use very soon!

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  6. Agree, amazing use for fennel, I never thought of anything quite like it...

    kale chips are my favorite gastronomic discovery of 2012, and I like the idea of using them to top a baguette slice with a great spread on top

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  7. most dips are served cold but this is different. i want to make fresh baguette now so i can smear this on top of it ;)

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  8. New dips are always welcome. Looks great.

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  9. What a great dip. I absolutely love fennel. It's a little warm here in Australia at the moment for a hot dip but I can see this would be perfect for your winter xx

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  10. It's officially been added to my repertoire. Looks wonderful Lisa. Thanks for the recipe.

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  11. A fantastic dip! Love the combo of fennel and hard cheese.

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  12. I really like fennel but never seem to use it enough, so I'm always looking for recipe that use it. This dish is a keeper! Love the flavors here. Good stuff - thanks.

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  13. I love the flavours in this awesome party dip :)

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

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  14. Please post more dips without mayo or sour cream please. I adore this dip and it is presented beautifully!

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  15. Nice looking baguettes! And yes, 'tis the season for a go to dip recipe. This one looks like a winner.

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  16. I love warm dips, and I was just looking for a recipe a week ago. Wish I'd seen this one before then!

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  17. I love dips and am trying to check some new from time to time, thank you for sharing :)

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  18. I love fennel so much, I even grow it in my garden. Funny thing is, I never cooked it. I should try that one day. Thanks for the lovely idea Lisa.

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  19. What a wonderful appetizer recipe! Adore that is loaded with vegetables and still packed with flavor. A perfect antidote for the season of over indulgence!

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  20. Lisa this looks amazing! I love fennel and yummy party food.

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  21. I love fennel and this dip sounds terrific...especially the way you presented it

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  22. Lovely! This looks wonderful - fennel is one of my favorite vegetables.

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  23. This is a beautiful and creative dip. Fennel does not get enough appreciation. I love the mild anise flavor. Definitely a dip to be added to the list.

    Velva

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  24. This dip is intriguing with the roasted fennel! It sounds delicious! I'm going to save the recipe!

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  25. i am fascinated by this dip, i've gotta try it!

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  26. Wow, Lisa, this is a stunner! I love the taste of roasted fennel and garlic so I can imagine how fantastically good this must be. And elegant enough for a party - if I could keep myself from eating the whole dish of it for dinner. Beautiful!

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  27. I tend not to get that excited about fennel but you've got me! This sounds great!

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  28. I'm not a great lover of fresh fennel, but cooked? I love it. What a super (and unusual) dip, Lisa.

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  29. Oh yes - I certainly do think I could sneak this past the hubby. What a gorgeous simple recipe!

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  30. the kale chips are a great touch! i don't eat a lot of fresh fennel, but you're making me want to buy some solely for this purpose. :)

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  31. Fennel in a dip sounds lovely! And it really IS the perfect time of year to add a new dip to my usual repertoire :-)

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  32. Two of my favorite things - fennel and parmesan - combined in a dip? Heaven.

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  33. Wow! Looks amazing! Love that you added a kale chip!

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  34. I have my dips that I always fall back on but this one sounds too amazing not to try! Thanks so much for posting it!

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  35. *drool* 2 of my favourite things - fennel and dip. This looks too good to be true. I wish I could just run through blogs and try everything that everyone is cooking. You're such a tease Lisa!

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  36. An authentic way to use fennel. I adore it - looks delicious!

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