Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Fresh Take On Super Bowl

Super Bowl, football fan or not (I'm not, but my husband is and a huge 49er fan), is that one time of year that we break out all of our beloved dips filled with cheese, chicken, buffalo sauce, and more cheese.  Oh, and don't forget the pizza, subs, chili, nachos and more chips and pretzels than you can imagine.  This year as I was gathering my recipes for Sunday,  I realized I really didn't feel like making most of them.  I was bored of the same old dips and appetizers and although my buffalo chicken dip is always a hit I wanted to experiment and make something new.   

Since this month was full of detoxifying foods I thought I could end the month with one last recipe.  Recently, I bought fennel and decided to roast it to serve as a side dish with some chicken I had prepared.  I was so surprised how much I loved not only the flavor but the texture as well.  Often times I find fennel to be a bit overwhelming with it's licorice flavor, but roasting it made it sweet and delicious.  Forever inspired by Martha Stewart, I decided to do a twist on her version of this dip.  This Warm Fennel and Red Kale Dip is fresh and creamy and sure to please all your football fans.  They won't even realized that its good for you too.

Now, I'm not saying for you to forget about your oldies but goodies, but maybe a little something fresh and new to add to your Super Bowl spread will be the perfect bit of change for 2013.

Warm Fennel and Red Kale Dip
3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and cut into 1 inch quarters
4-5 cloves of garlic, slightly smashed
1 cup curly red kale, stems removed and chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, finely chopped
1 french baguette 

Optional Ingredients
3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet or an oven safe pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high heat.  Add the fennel and garlic and cook until browned on one side, about 7-10 minutes.  I had to move my cast iron around on the burner a bit to evenly brown the fennel because of the size of my cast iron.  

Flip the fennel and garlic.  Sprinkle with salt and cover with foil.  Place the cast iron skillet in the oven and roast for 25-30 minutes.  Fennel should be very tender.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. 

While the fennel is cooling heat the remainder 1 tablespoon of oil in small oven safe pan on the stove on medium heat.  Add the kale and saute until slightly wilted.  Place the pan with kale in the oven and roast for about 5-7 minutes.  The kale should be slightly crispy.

Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.

In food processor puree the fennel and garlic until smooth.  Add the 1/4 cup of shredded parmesan and give it a quick pulse to combine.  Remove the fennel mixture and place in a small mixing bowl.  Add kale and Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  If adding optional ingredients, add the bacon and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

Transfer mixture to 16 ounce baking dish and sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of finely chopped parmesan cheese.  Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.  Remove the dip and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  While the dip is cooling place the baguette in the oven to warm.  Remove and slice baguette into 1/2 inch slices and serve with the dip.  Makes about 6-10 servings.