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Caramelized fennel tartlets with prosciutto and goat cheese

Caramelized fennel tartlets with prosciutto and goat cheese


2 bulbs fennel
2 sprigs thyme
1 star anise pod
1 bay leaf
3 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. fennel seeds
2 to 3 tbsp. canola oil
6 paper-thin slices prosciutto
2 (15-count) boxes frozen miniature filo shells
4 oz. fresh goat cheese

Sacramento caterer Joan Leineke creates an inspired filling for ready-to-use filo shells from the grocer's freezer case.


Trim tops and root ends from fennel bulbs. Place fennel in a pot just large enough to fit the bulbs; cover with cold water and add thyme, anise, bay leaf, salt and fennel seeds. Bring water to a boil, cover pot and simmer until fennel is tender to the core when tested with a knife, 45 minutes or so. Drain and cool.

Trim off any tough areas on the outside of the bulbs and slice lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips. In a sauté pan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Sauté fennel until nicely browned and remove from heat.

Sauté prosciutto in a dry skillet until slightly crisp and dice into 1/4-inch pieces. Lay out filo shells and divide fennel among the shells. Top with 1 tsp. goat cheese and a few pieces of prosciutto. Can be prepared up to this point several hours ahead and refrigerated.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place filled shells on a baking sheet and heat just until heated through, about 5 minutes.

Makes 30 small tarts