I bought some impressive looking fennel at the organic market.
It sat on the kitchen island demanding attention.
I sliced one to eat raw at lunch after pasta–with a piece of parmesan or pecorino and some of the new olive oil. We had enjoyed doing this in Tuscany–cleanses the palate (and helps avoid flatulance, according to my researcher–aka Meredith!)
It was tenderly crunchy–not in the least stringy.
Fennel gratin I thought–supper with a sweet potato and tarator sauce.
I’d never cooked it before and my search for guidance led me to the Riverford Farm Cookbook.
Rosemary and garlic was suggested with cream and parmesan.
I have substituted coconut cream (see below if you are unfamiliar with this ingredient) and added more parmesan.
Serves 2 as a main course–4 as an accompanying vegetable.
4 largish fennel bulbs–cleaned, cored and sliced vertically in half inch pieces
1 pint/450ml stock to blanch the fennel–I use organic vegetable stock cubes
3 garlic cloves–peeled and crushed with a knife
1 teaspoon rosemary needles–chopped fine
160ml coconut cream—the difference between coconut milk/cream and cream of coconut is fully explained here: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-coconut-m-75446/. It looks like milk, it is NOT sweetened and it does NOT taste of coconut!
1/2 tablespoon parmesan to mix in with the cream+ more for the topping–a tablespoon perhaps.
(The version below is fat free.)
salt and pepper
- Bring the stock to the boil in a wide shallow pan.
- Add the fennel and cook for about 5 minutes–until it’s beginning to soften.
- Remove it to a bowl with a draining spoon and let it cool a little.
- Combine the coconut cream with the garlic and rosemary in a small pan and gently bring to the boil.
- Turn off the heat.
- Season this mix and add half the cheese.
- Pour it on the fennel and turn it all over thoroughly.
- Put the gratin mix in an oven proof dish–it is oven-ready now.
- This can be prepared beforehand and set aside, covered with foil.
- An hour or so before you are planning to eat…
- Heat the oven to 180C/360F
- Cook it in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Take it out and lift off the foil.
- Sprinkle over parmesan to cover and put it back uncovered in the oven for a further 15 minutes.
- It will have browned nicely on top.