It's July. A balmy 17 degrees and cloudy with showers. The British summer is well and truly here. And with it comes our first crop of fennel. Fennel can be picked into Autumn but I think it is at it's best right now, chopped and eaten raw in a salad with a lemon dressing and some herbs.
There are some great fennel recipes in Tom Hunt's book "The Natural Cook: eating the seasons from root to fruit", which takes you through the seasons with 26 different fruit and vegetables showing you how to use every part of an ingredient. I love this book because it keeps things simple, seasonal and gives you a number of different cooking methods and variations for everyday ingredients.
How about caramelised fennel and olive bruschetta? Or roast pork belly with fennel and turnip?
I'm not sure how much Tom would approve of my (out of season) cauliflower and (in season) fennel gratin but the weather right now makes me want comfort food. So here goes...
- 1 x cauliflower (cut into small florets)
- 2 x fennel bulbs (1cm slices)
- 1 X garlic clove (crushed)
- Handful of cheddar cheese
- Small handful of parmesan cheese
- Tsp dried thyme
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs (I used panko)
- 300ml double cream
- Salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 / 200 degrees C. Boil the veg in salted water until just tender. Drain and add to an ovenproof dish. Add some salt and black pepper. Stir in the cream, garlic and cheddar. Sprinkle over the Parmesan, thyme and breadcrumbs. Cook for around 35 minutes.