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I could write love poems about my relationships with the sweet, crunchy fennel bulb and I suppose this recipe could be interpreted as such. Filling a flakey butter crust with caramelized fennel and onions and and feta and topping it with a bright green fennel frond salsa verde is my way of showcasing and honoring this glorious vegetable.
In the summer, I like to bake this galette early in the day before my kitchen gets too hot and eat it at room temperature for lunch or dinner with a great big salad. It is rich and aromatic and deeply satisfying.
1.5 cups Pastry Flour
1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into 1/2" pieces and kept in the fridge
1/2 cup ice water
1 Tbsp toasted fennel seeds or 1 tsp fennel pollen salt blend
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp Butter
1 large onion, peeled and sliced into 1/4" half moon shapes
1 bulbs fennel, cut into 1/4" half moon shapes
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 pint feta, crumbled
1 small shallot, peeled and finely minced
3 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped fennel fronds
1/2 cup finely chopped mint
3/4 cup olive oil
zest from one lemon
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425
In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, fennel seeds and mix well. Cut the cold butter into ¼” cubes and toss them in the flour mixture. Once all of the butter has been added in, use your fingers to pinch the pieces of butter into small pieces, fluffing them in the flour as you go. Continue until there is no butter left that is bigger than the size of a pea. Slowly stream in the ice water, stirring with a fork as you go until the dough starts to clump together. Use your hands to gather the dough into a shaggy disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge to cool for at least 1 hour.
While your dough is chilling, heat the butter and olive oil on medium high heat in a large cast iron or nonstick skillet. Add in the fennel and onions and cool them, stirring regularly, until they reduce in volume by ⅔ and start to turn golden and stick to the bottom of the pan. Add in the garlic and cook for 2-3 more minutes until it fragrant and tender. Add salt and pepper to taste and transfer the mixture into a bowl to cool.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until it has doubled in size. Fold it in half and roll out again until it is ¼” thick. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place the caramelized fennel and onions in the center of the dough and crumble the feta over it. Fold in the edges around the filling. In a small bowl, whisk up your egg. Use a pastry brush to brush the dough with egg wash. Sprinkle the egg washed crust with the fennel pollen finishing salt. Crack pepper generously over the whole galette and bake for 40 minutes until it is golden and crispy.
Submerge the minced shallot in vinegar and let it sit for at least ten minutes. In a separate bowl combine the chopped fennel fronds and mint and submerge them in olive oil. Use a microplane or garlic press to grate the garlic into the herbs. Add the lemon zest in with the herbs. To finish, spoon the pickled shallots into the herb mixture until it is tangy to your liking. Feel free to add the vinegar in as well. Taste as you go.
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