This is a great meat-free main dish with a salad, or serve it with roast pork or lamb
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 heads of fennel, trimmed (fronds kept) and cut into thin wedges
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 400g can chopped tomato
- 85g white bread
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- handful fennel fronds
- zest 1 lemon
- handful black olive, pitted
MethodAdd the garlic and continue to cook for 10-20 mins until the fennel is soft (the timing depends on how thick the fennel is). Add the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, for 10 mins until the fennel is coated in a thick tomato sauce. Tip everything into a shallow gratin dish. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 4.
- 3 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1.2kg mixed tomato, from really big to cherry
- 8 thyme or oregano sprigs, or a mixture, stripped, plus a few more
- 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 50-85g fresh white breadcrumbs - if you've got a crust, use this so the crumbs are nice and golden
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Heat half the oil in a pan and gently soften the onions and garlic for 15-20 mins until really soft and sticky but not browned. Put the onions, tomatoes (halve the large ones), herbs, sugar and breadcrumbs in a baking dish, season well and toss together.
- Drizzle with the remaining oil, scatter with a few more herb sprigs and bake for 1 hr until going golden on top and the tomatoes are juicy.
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1kg floury potato, thinly sliced (see tip, below)
- 300ml vegetable stock
- 250g cherry tomato, preferably on the vine
- 25g Parmesan (or vegetarian alternative), finely grated
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Quarter the fennel lengthways, and cut out and discard the root. Thinly slice the fennel. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, season the fennel and gently cook for about 5 mins until starting to soften.
- Drizzle a little oil over the base of a 1.5-litre gratin dish. Arrange half the potatoes over the base, then season. Spread the fennel over, then cover with the remaining potatoes. Pour over the stock, season and drizzle with the remaining oil. Scrunch a piece of baking parchment around the edge of the dish to make a seal, then bake for 1 hr. Can be made a few hours ahead up to this point.
- Remove the dish from the oven and put the tomatoes on top. Scatter over the Parmesan and return to the oven for 20 mins until the top is golden.
- 3 plump bulbs of fennel
- a scrap of butter
- 70g pitted dry black olive with herbs (try Crespo's version, from supermarkets), roughly chopped
- 284ml carton double cream
- 5 heaped tbsp finely grated Parmesan or pecorino romano
- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7/fan 200C. Boil up a big saucepan of water.
- Meanwhile trim the roots off each fennel bulb, remove the first leaf, then keep trimming off more root and removing more leaves, right down to the core. Cut off and discard (or keep for a stock) all the green stalky bits and coarse outer leaves. Slicing along the grain of the leaves, cut them into tulip-petal sized pieces.
- Throw the fennel into the boiling water, cover the pan and bring back to the boil. Remove the lid and boil for 5 minutes to blanch the fennel, then drain thoroughly.
- Lightly butter a large (about 25cm diameter) gratin or other ovenproof dish. Spread half the fennel over the bottom of the dish and strew evenly with half the olives. Cover with the remaining fennel and olives and season well. Pour over the cream, then sprinkle a thick layer of cheese on top.
- Bake the gratin on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes or until the cream is bubbling, the top lightly gilded, and the fennel tender. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving.