Creamed Leeks, Fennel, Fennel Pollen

One of our traditional side dishes for the Thanksgiving turkey was creamed onions, but it’s getting hard to find the Diamond brand canned pearl onions I liked to use (yes, I could use fresh, but there’s enough to do without peeling a lot of tiny onions). But I wanted something creamy to go with the turkey, and this is what I made.

Trim and clean a couple of leeks, cut them in half lengthwise, then slice thinly. Trim the tops from a two or three fennel bulbs (save some of the frilly fronds), split them in half, then cut into slices about half inch thick. Cook the vegetables gently in a healthy glug of extra virgin olive oil (toss in a chunk of butter, too, if you want) for about 20 minutes.

When the fennel is fairly tender, add a half pint of heavy cream. Continue cooking over medium until the cream has reduced and thickened, maybe 15-20 minutes, tasting and salting as necessary. Stir in about a tablespoon of fennel pollen and some of the fennel frond, finely chopped. Cook for a few minutes and serve hot.