Sponsored: Fennel Gruyere Gratin + Anolon Vesta Baker Giveaway

February 21, 2018

The last couple of months have all been leading up to this week. The first draft of my next cookbook is due to my editor on Friday, just as the yearly conference for the International Association for Culinary Professionals begins. This is typically the only conference I attend each year, and it’s a chance to see friends and colleagues, as well as make new connections that will hopefully lead to more work and opportunities.

Originally founded in 1978 by a group of cooking school owners and instructors (including Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and Anne Willan), over the last 40 years IACP has become a robust professional organization for food writers, cookbook authors, bloggers, editors, food tour guides, and others.

As part of the lead-up to the conference, I was asked by the folks at Anolon (they’re a dedicated IACP sponsor) to dream up a recipe inspired by one of the organization’s founders. I chose to look at Anne Willan’s life and work as a starting place for my dish.

I met Anne briefly at my very first IACP conference in 2012 (just before Food in Jars came out!), when she was promoting her amazing book The Cookbook Library (if you love cookbooks, you must check out this book. It covers the four centuries of cooking and recipe writing that led us to the point of culinary literacy where we are today). I remember thinking that I would be incredibly fortunate to have even half the career that she has had.

Starting with the knowledge that Anne was the founder of the La Varenne Cooking School in Paris, I knew my dish would need to be grounded in French cooking. I took a wander through her website and paged through the copy of La Varenne Pratique that I inherited from my Aunt Flora, and decided I’d make a Fennel Gruyere Gratin.

The thing I love about a gratin is that it is versatile and relatively easy (a necessity as I approach my deadline!). We think of gratins as being heavy dishes that are full of cheese, but they can actually be relatively light. I only use three ounces of cheese in this particular version. For a side that produces between six and eight servings, that’s not overly cheesy at all!

I used fennel as the primary ingredient because it brings a lot of flavor to the dish and I can almost always get really fresh, beautiful fennel at my local produce shop. However, you could apply this same technique to zucchini, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, winter squash, or various root vegetables.

I used an assortment of Anolon tools while creating this dish that you’ll see pictured throughout this post. They sent me a trio of blazingly sharp and easy-to-handle knives, a sturdy teak cutting board, and the Vesta Stoneware 9 x 13 Baker in Umber. I was particularly excited to use the Vesta baker because I’ve been on the lookout for a good, deep 9 x 13 pan. This one fits the bill perfectly.

Thanks to the folks at Anolon, I have one of these lovely Vesta Stoneware 9 x 13 Baking Pans in Umber to giveaway to one of you! Please use the widget below to enter!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Anolon paid me to write this post and develop the recipe you see below. They sent me the baker, knives, and cutting board to feature in this post. And, they are providing the stoneware baker for giveaway. However, as always, the words and thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.

Fennel Gruyere Gratin + Anolon Vesta Baker Giveaway


  • 2-3 fennel bulbs
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 6 tablespoons melted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unseasoned bread crumbs
  • 3 ounces gruyere, finely grated
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 medium lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed or grated on a microplane
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/204°C. Trim away the stem ends of the fennel. Cut the bulb into wedges. Depending on how large the bulbs are, opt for quarters, sixths, or eighths. Arrange the fennel wedges in a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Combine the chicken stock and 3 tablespoons of melted butter and pour it over the fennel. Season with salt and cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.
  2. Bake the fennel wedges for 45 to 50 minutes, until they are super tender. You should be able to poke the bit of core in each wedge with a paring knife and have the knife slide in easily.
  3. While the fennel cooks, make the topping. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, lemon zest and juice, garlic, and black pepper with the remaining melted butter and stir to combine. It should look like damp sand when you’re finished. If it seems too wet, add a pinch more breadcrumbs to even it out.
  4. Leaving the pan uncovered, return it to the oven and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, until the topping nicely browned and your kitchen smells delicious.
  5. Serve hot.

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141 responses to “Sponsored: Fennel Gruyere Gratin + Anolon Vesta Baker Giveaway”

  1. I’m not sure what I’d cook first as we are just finding out (today!) that my husband needs to change his diet for at least a year. I’m excited as I think it will bring relief to a long suffering auto-immune disease, but I’m a bit overwhelmed as to how I’ll feed him. I’m going to guess that we’d use it for some type of meat and veg dinner since I think we’ll be doing a lot of those moving forward 🙂

  2. That looks like it could be a vegetarian main dish if you use vegetable broth. I’m trying to be “mostly vegetarian” lately and this would be a good one to try,

  3. That looks lovely! I’ve never actually eaten fennel, this may be something new to try. I try to eat something new as often as I can find something at the grocery.

  4. I have a recipe for portobello croque-monsieur that I’ve been wanting to try. This could be the push I need to finally do it.

  5. We’re going through a beans phase right now – cooked & spiced beans, bean soup, mixed beans & veggies, cold beans & whatever, chili, all of it.

  6. I look forward to trying this recipe. Analon is new to me- good time to check out the company and their products.

  7. This would be the perfect thing for homemade Sorrentino gnocci that I learned to make in Italy last September!

  8. That recipe looks great. I have a butternut squash that I have been trying to use up, this looks like a great idea. Thanks

  9. Oh man, I would totally try this recipe if I got the baker! I’ve never tried fennel, and I’ve always wanted to. With some cheese, I’m sure I could get hubby in on it. 🙂

  10. I want to try the roasted fennel. I love fennel and tried to grow it, but the bulbs never formed. I also love gruyere, so this dish will be yummy.

    • You may have planted anise rather than fennel. With anise, there are no bulbs, and the plant is predominantly used for its seeds.

  11. We love to make baked penne, that would be the first. Followers by Kielbasa and potatoes. And then Chicken and stuffing casserole. So many possibilities!

  12. I have multiple recipes for that pan – some old tried and true favorites plus a stack of new to try ones. Just think of how many wonderful recipes have come out of each pan you have!

  13. I’d make corn casserole/corn pudding. I make it for every family gathering. As a matter of fact, I make two. One standard and one with lots of hot peppers. I’ve tried to make different dishes, but my family throws a fit if I don’t bring the corn casserole. I’m actually making it this weekend for a get-together. It would be great to have another 9 x 13 casserole dish. The ones I currently use are 2 different sizes. So one casserole ends up thicker than the other.

  14. A deep 9×13 sounds lovely! I have some rhubarb frozen, begging to be made into a crisp, and I am always overfilling my standard sized casserole dishes when preparing crisps because I want more filling to serve each person.

  15. Yum! I love your suggestion of a Brussels sprouts gratin… I have been on an enchilada kick though… Maybe both! not at the same time though…

  16. Can always use an extra 9×13 pan. Especially when we get hungry for stacked enchiladas. (And I am!) They also work so well as a roasting pan for a chicken.

    Congrats on making to the deadline!

  17. I have a sick friend – I make her a baked dish, give to her in the pan but then can’t make another until I get it back from her! This would help me create two dishes at once.

  18. My wife loves fennel so this would probably be the first thing i would cook in it. I’ve heard of Calphalon but never Anolon. but this pan looks like it would last for a long time.

  19. Recipe looks great 😮

    I think if I got the stoneware baker the first thing I’d make would be some version of hot dish for my Minnesotan fiancé 🙂

  20. The first thing I would cook would also be enchiladas–because several other posters mentioned it and now I’m jonesing!

  21. Perfect timing – I was just looking for new fennel recipes!
    The first thing to make in the baker would probably be some kind of roasted veg – maybe brussels sprouts?

  22. You know, I have a whole patch of fennel growing against the fence & the only parts I’ve ever used are the early lacy growth in salads & the seeds for teas & spice. I’ve never thought about the bulb!!!
    I’ll have to try your fennel recipe – but I’ll need that lovely deep dish to make it in . . . .

  23. My first thing I’d bake would be a hearty baked oatmeal. We have a lot of cold, gray mornings ahead of us still and something that satisfies both the eyes and our sense of taste sounds wonderful.

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