This one-dish wonder from Smyth and the Loyalist executive chef John Shields gets heat from nduja, a spicy, spreadable Italian salumi, and autumnal flavors from fresh sage and fennel. Its secret weapon? Pecans. “They’re like little flavor bombs,” Shields says.
John Shield’s Fennel, Onion, and Nduja Casserole
Yield:6 to 8 servings
Time:1 hour 15 minutes
|½ lb.||Sourdough bread, thinly sliced|
|4||Small fennel bulbs, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced|
|2½ cups||Sliced onion|
|1 cup||Heavy cream|
|Juice of 1 lemon|
|4 Tbsp.||Unsalted butter, cut into small pieces|
|3 Tbsp.||Roughly chopped sage leaves|
|Freshly ground pepper|
|1 cup||Coarsely chopped pecans|
|2 Tbsp.||Olive oil|
|1 cup||Grated Parmesan|
1. Coarsely grind the bread in a food processor. Set aside.
2. Toss the fennel, onion, nduja, cream, lemon juice, butter, and sage in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer to an 8-by-8-inch casserole dish or a Dutch oven. Bake at 400 degrees uncovered, until vegetables are tender and lightly browned and the cream is reduced by half (30 to 35 minutes).
4. Combine breadcrumbs, pecans, oil, and Parmesan in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mixture over the vegetables and bake until the topping is golden brown and the nuts are toasted (10 to 15 minutes).
5. Let cool before serving.