Fennel, onion, and nduja casserole
Photo: Jeff Marini

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
⅓ cup Nduja
1 cup Heavy cream
  Juice of 1 lemon
4 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 Tbsp. Roughly chopped sage leaves
  Kosher salt
  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.