Lemony fennel, slowly braised in olive oil with chilli sitting on a creamy cushion of Dolcelatte cheese all wrapped up in crisp filo pastry – yes, I am a genius. Especially if you like fennel. If you don’t, just move on – have a look at these Enchiladas or this Pasta Puttanesca instead!
I love fennel raw in salads and roasted in the oven but I think I love it most braised slowly in a heavy pan where it browns and softens slowly absorbing the flavours of herbs and spices – just look at it, it’s gorgeous!
Braised Fennel and Dolcelatte Filo Parcels
For the Fennel
- 1 large fennel bulb trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1/4 tsp dried crushed chillies
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
For the Parcels
- 4 tbsp Dolcelatte cheese
- 30 g butter
- 4 sheets filo pastry
- To prepare the fennel
- Melt the butter and oil together in a heavy bottomed pan
- Add the fennel and fry gently until just beginning to brown
- Add the fennel seeds and chillies and fry for a further minute
- Add the lemon juice, cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes or until the fennel is fork tender
- To prepare the parcels
- Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
- Melt the butter in a small pan
- Cut a sheet of filo into quarters
- Brush one-quarter with a little butter, place a second quarter at an angle on top, repeat with the remaining quarters until you have something resembling a filo star
- Place a spoonful of Dolcelatte in the middle of your star
- Stand two pieces of fennel in the cheese and draw the pastry up around them, squeeze at the top
- Brush the outside of the parcel with a little more butter
- Repeat 3 times with the remaining pastry sheets, filo and cheese
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10 - 15 minutes until the pastry is golden and crisp
I served my parcels on a bed of almond couscous with new season’s watercress and sliced Portobello mushrooms fried in a tiny bit of olive oil so they retained all their lovely flavour. I poured the juices from the fennel pan over the top and tucked in!
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