I tried this out on Jerry and Paul last night. We all agreed it is a real keeper. How can you go wrong with fennel, bacon and gorgonzola? It can be made ahead, in the morning, then just bake it before serving. Perfect for holiday entertaining, I think!
HOT FENNEL DIP
4 slices Applewood smoked bacon
3 medium fennel bulbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola
1 t. black pepper
1/4 c. panko
2 T. parmesan
Belgian endive leaves or crackers for dipping
1. Preheat oven to 400. In a skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet. Crumble bacon; set aside.
2. To prepare fennel, cut off and discard upper stalks of fennel. Remove any wilted outer layers and cut a thin slice from the fennel base. Wash fennel and cut in half lengthwise; remove core. Cut crosswise into very thin slices.
3. Add fennel and garlic to drippings in skillet. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until fennel is just tender and begins to brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, gorgonzola, bacon, and pepper to fennel; mix well. Spoon mixture into a souffle dish, or other oven-proof dish. In a small bowl combine parmesan cheese and panko and cover top of the fennel mixture.
4. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes, or until just heated through and top is light brown. Do not overbake. Serve with crackers or Belgian endive leaves. Makes 6 to 8 servings.