Month of October: “David Tanis Market Cooking” Recipe: “Fennel al Forno

“No tree, it is said, can grow to heaven unless its roots reach down to hell” Carl Jung

Abby and I loved Carl Jung. We once had a magical mushroom experience at the infamous cabin with “Man and his symbols.” In it, there is that famous ink drawing of Leonardo Da Vinci of a man with his arms and legs extended. We stared at that picture for a very long time. What I mostly remember is of us both simultaneously being powerfully drawn into the image. We could communicate without words…we could read each other’s thoughts! We contemplated time and space! Of course, we were young and experimenting but the main take away was how that moment cemented our bond. We were transformed. We were different and we never forgot it. It became us. Now, she is no longer here to remember that day or so many lasting imprints of our youth. All that remains are my memories…the roots of our brief history. I keep digging and digging, deeper and deeper, dredging the emotional earth and allowing whatever comes to me, to take shape, like legs planted firmly in many directions.

Ingredients: 4 medium fennel bulbs trimmed, salt and pepper, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, 3 garlic cloves smashed into a paste with a little salt, 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 8 ounces fresh grated mozzarella, 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup parmasan cheese, 2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley

1.Heat the oven to 375F. Remove a thin layer of the fennel bulbs tough exterior. Cut the fennel crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and add the fennel and boil for 1-2 minute. ( I wished mine were a little more tender). Drain and put into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry. Season.

2. Lightly oil a large baking dish. Layer in the fennel to a depth of 1.5 inches, pushing down if necessary. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, fennel seeds, garlic, rosemary and crushed pepper. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of this mixture over the fennel. Cover with the mozzarella, then sprinkle with the bread crumbs. Drizzle the remaining oil mixture over the top, then sprinkle with parmasan. Bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned. Garnish with parsley and expect raves.

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