Scalloped Potatoes and Fennel

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes

    6

    servings

Appears in

The Glory of Southern Cooking

The Glory of Southern Cooking

By James Villas

Published 2007

  • About

Southerners lay claim to scalloped potatoes as if the French gratin dauphinois never existed, but it’s only recently that we’ve embraced fresh fennel as a wonderful vegetable to braise, stuff into baked fish, eat raw in salads and with dips, or use to enhance our beloved scalloped potatoes. (Of course, if, like many Southerners, you have a natural prejudice against licorice, you probably won’t like fennel, although its flavor is very light and delicate when the bulb is cooked.) Fresh fennel is now widely available throughout the winter months and keeps well, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for about a week. When shopping, look for crisp, unblemished bulbs, and refuse any with wilted, feathery tops. Check this dish carefully after about 40 minutes. If it appears to be baking and browning too rapidly, add a little milk around the sides and baste the potatoes and fennel well before adding the remaining cheese.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium russet potatoes (about pounds), peeled
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs (about 1 pound), cut in half and cored
  • ½ cup chopped fresh chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Cut the potatoes and fennel into -inch slices and arrange in alternate layers in a 1½- to 2-quart gratin or baking dish, sprinkling a few chives over each layer and seasoning the layers with salt and pepper. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the cheese over the top, dot with the butter, pour the cream over the top, and bake till the potatoes are tender, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top and bake 10 to 15 minutes till golden brown. Serve hot.