Baked Fennel and Boston Lettuce
|Pancetta/Bacon||1⁄4 Pound, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips|
|Carrot||1 Small, coarsely chopped|
|Celery ribs||1 Small, coarsely chopped|
|Onion||1 Small, coarsely chopped|
|Fennel bulbs||2 1⁄2 Pound (About 3 Large Sized)|
|Boston lettuce||1⁄2 Pound, leaves separated (1 Head)|
|Freshly ground pepper||1⁄4 Teaspoon|
|Chicken stock/Canned broth||3⁄4 Cup (12 tbs)|
|Fresh lemon juice||1 Tablespoon|
|Unsalted butter||3 Tablespoon|
1) Preheat the oven to 350°.
2) In a small saucepan of simmering water, blanch the pancetta for 2 minutes.
3) Drain and in large shallow gratin or baking dish, place the pancetta.
4) Add carrot, celery and onion into the dish.
5) In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook the fennel bulbs for 2 minutes.
6) With a slotted spoon, remove the fennel bulbs and let cool slightly.
7) Add the Boston lettuce leaves to the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes; drain.
8) Make thick slices from the fennel bulbs along the length.
9) Arrange the fennel on top of the chopped vegetables.
10) Season with pepper and cover the fennel with the wilted lettuce leaves.
11) In a small saucepan, combine chicken stock, lemon juice, butter and salt.
12) Place over moderately high heat and heat until the butter melts.
13) Pour this liquid over the fennel.
14) With a sheet of buttered aluminum foil, cover the baking dish.
15) Place inside oven to bake for 45 minutes, or until the fennel is tender.
16) Carefully lift the lettuce off the fennel and in a food processor, place the lettuce.
17) In a serving platter, place the fennel. With a foil cover the fennel to keep warm.
18) Add the remaining ingredients into the food processor along with the pan juices to process for preparing the sauce.
19) Season the sauce with additional salt, pepper and lemon juice as per taste.
20) Spoon the pureed vegetable sauce over the fennel in the serving platter. Pass the remaining sauce on the side.