2 recipes from Philadelphia

4 to 6 servings

These crisped, salty and savory slices of fennel make a terrific and unusual hors d’oeuvre.


Originally developed as a side dish featured in Philadelphia chef-restaurateur Marc Vetri’s 2011 “Rustic Italian Food,” it is served today as a “welcome” at Vetri.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

MAKE AHEAD: The gratins can be made an hour in advance.


2 large or 3 to 4 small fennel bulbs, fronds reserved for garnish (about 2 pounds total)

About 1 1/4 cups olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have a rimmed baking sheet or large, shallow baking dish at hand.

Trim off and discard the bottom and tough outer layer of each fennel bulb. Cut each bulb in half from top to bottom, then cut each half into 4 equal wedges, keeping the core intact; that will help hold the wedges together.

Pour enough oil to generously cover the bottom of the baking sheet or baking dish, then add the fennel wedges. You’ll want to position them so their surfaces can hold the seasonings and cheese.

Sprinkle each wedge lightly with salt, pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes. Top each one with the cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the fennel is tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork and the cheese is golden brown. Let cool (in the baking sheet or baking dish) until barely warm.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer to individual plates or a platter. Garnish with fronds and serve right away.

Ingredients are too variable for a meaningful analysis.

Lancaster Chicken Salad

6 or 7 servings (makes about 7 cups)

Pickled celery, a sherry-shallot reduction and toasted hazelnuts elevate this beyond your typical chicken salad. Those additions make the recipe a bit more involved, but if you’re fan of such salads, it’ll be well worth your time.

The restaurant serves it on grilled sourdough or on toasted anadama bread, a molasses-rich New England specialty.

MAKE AHEAD: The chickens can be roasted several days in advance; you’ll have plenty of white meat left over. The celery and red onion can be pickled and refrigerated up to 5 days in advance. The chicken salad can be refrigerated up to overnight. Bring to a cool room temperature before serving.

Adapted from a.kitchen in Philadelphia.


For the chicken

Two 3-to-4-pound, good-quality whole chickens (giblet packets removed)

6 cloves garlic, minced

Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon

3 tablespoons finely chopped herbs, such as a “poultry mix” of rosemary, thyme and sage, plus several stems of each

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

For the pickled vegetables

2 cups white wine vinegar

2 cups beet juice

1 cup sugar

3 or 4 large ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch dice (1 packed cup)

1 medium red onion, thinly sliced

For assembly

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 shallot, minced

1 cup good-quality mayonnaise

Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 3/4 ounces (3/4 cup) hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and crushed (see NOTE)

Thick slices of toasted or grilled bread, for serving (see headnote)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs, preferably a mix such as rosemary, thyme and sage, for garnish

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, for garnish


For the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chickens side by side in a pan just large enough to hold them.

Combine the garlic, lemon zest and chopped herbs in a bowl; add the melted butter and stir to blend.

Place a few stems of fresh herbs in the cavity of each bird, then season liberally inside with salt. Pour the butter mixture evenly over each bird, especially on the legs. Season the birds well with salt and pepper. Roast for about 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature of the dark meat registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer when taken in the thickest part of the thigh (away from the bone).

As soon as the chickens are cool enough to handle, collect all the meat from the legs, thighs and wings, tearing it into long pieces or cutting it into bite-size chunks; the yield should be 5 to 6 cups. Discard the skin and reserve the remaining meat for another use.

Meanwhile, make the pickled vegetables: Combine the vinegar, beet juice and sugar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Once the liquid is barely bubbling, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 minutes, then divide between two heatproof bowls. Add the celery to one bowl and the red onion to the other; let sit for at least 30 minutes. Once the liquid has cooled, you can cover and refrigerate the pickled vegetables and their liquid for up to 5 days.

For assembly: Combine the sherry and shallot in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has reduced by half. Let cool.

Whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice (to taste), paprika, a good drizzle of the oil and the cooled sherry-shallot reduction in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the cooked chicken and crushed hazelnuts, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the pickled celery to the bowl. Toss gently to coat the ingredients well. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

For each serving, scoop a cup of the chicken salad on top of the toasted or grilled bread. Top with (drained) pickled red onion, fresh herbs and chives.

NOTE: Toast the (skin-on) hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet in a 350-degree oven for about 18 minutes or until the skins have darkened and cracked. Immediately transfer them to a clean dish towel; close up and rub vigorously to dislodge the skins. Let the skinned nuts cool before using.

Nutrition | Per serving (based on 7, without pickled vegetables): 500 calories, 25 g protein, 3 g carbohydrates, 43 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 100 mg cholesterol, 290 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 1 g sugar