Thursday, March 19, 2009

Roast Fennel with Parmesan

There are PUIEs and PPIEs.

When I worked at IBM we had a programmer assigned to support our particular financial group. Lets call him Estav8Barry. Way back then programmers were fairly exotic, they acted like gatekeepers to the treasures of the Ark. Everything was lingo and it was all designed to remind you that you not only didn't get programming, but that as a mere newbie, you could never even hope to know the secrets of their inner world.

Problem was Estav8Barry knew nothing about finance and accounting but still had to work in the real world with us. We told him what we wanted the program to do, he'd write code, we'd break it, he'd re-write. This "do loop" ran until the thing actually worked. A perfectly symbiotic, if inefficient relationship.

But we always argued over PUIEs (pronounced: pueeys) and PPIEs (pronounced: poopies). Probably User Input Error vs Probably Programmer Input Error. "It's your fault!" "No, it's your fault!" "Why can't you write decent code?" "I wrote what you asked for!"

Another "do loop" spinning away.

Well cooking has its share of PPIEs and PPIEs. I still think the Clafoutis is just a wrong recipe, a PPIE. People have left comments saying I did everything right, not a PUIE, but it is supposed to taste like that. I just don't believe it.

So today I am posting another head scratcher of a recipe. Roast Fennel with Parmesan seemed like a no brainer. Short ingredient list, easy prep, straightforward cooking approach. How bad could it be? Well what we ended up with smelled like a PUIE and tasted like PPIE. Maybe you crablings can fix this one.

Roast Fennel with Parmesan
from Giada's Family Dinners, Giada DeLaurentiis

4 large fennel bulbs
4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove fronds from fennel. Chop and reserve fronds for garnish.

Slice the fennel horizontally in 1/2 inch sections. When you get to the base of the bulb, remove the tough inner core.

Arrange the fennel in a lightly oiled baking dish, slightly overlapping the rounds. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and then add the Parmesan cheese.

Bake about 45 minutes, until the fennel is fork tender.

Remove from the oven and liberally garnish with the chopped fennel fronds.



I don't get it. This couldn't be simpler. The rings were intact and nicely browned. They were also a flavorless glop. I don't get it crablings, this should be a delicately flavored dish. SSSal thought it was OK, though maybe in need of more Parmesan. I thought it needed to be put out of its misery. Ah well, until next time, when I reassert my complete mastery of all things kitchen, remember, you can do it you can cook.

PS 25 years later we're still friends with Estav8Barry, at least on the Christmas Card level.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Too funny! Not sure why this recipe tasted off. Maybe because the cheese flavor is too strong for the delicate flavor of the fennel. I like to bake thinly sliced fennel at 400F, just tossed in extravirgin olive oil and salt, nothing simpler.