Fennel is one of my favorite vegetables....love it roasted and make it frequently. One thing I don't like much is raw fennel in salads...the anise flavor is more pronounced, which I don't particularly care for. But caramelized, it's divine. We all have our little quirks.
When I saw this tart, I knew I'd love it and, cut into smaller pieces, it would also make a nice appetizer. I made it for lunch, left the puff pastry whole and placed whole fennel slices on it, then sliced it afterwards. You can do it my way or follow the instructions below.
Grilled Fennel Tarts
From Spoon Fork Bacon
2 medium fennel bulbs (with fronds intact)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated
1 ounce mascarpone, softened
2 teaspoons oregano, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 lemon, zested
2 sheets puff pastry, cut into 2 x 5” rectangles
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Thinly slice fennel heads into 1/2 inch slices (lengthwise) and cut each piece in half. (I left them whole.) Brush each piece of fennel with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat and lightly grease. Grill fennel for about 3 minutes on each side or until nicely charred and softened. Remove from heat and allow fennel pieces to cool.
In a small bowl combine Gruyere, mascarpone, oregano, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and mash together with the back of a fork until fully combined. Cut your puff pastry into rectangles. (I left my puff pastry whole.) Spread a small amount of the cheese mixture over each piece of puff pastry, leaving the outer 1/4 inch perimeter bare.
Top each rectangle of cheese spread puff pastry with a piece of grilled fennel and gently press down. Place each tart onto a baking sheet, lined with parchment, and lightly season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fennel begins to caramelize and the puff pastry turns golden brown.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.