Fennel, Cherry Tomato, Caper and Anchovy Gratin

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The nights are drawing in: now it’s a little colder I want my vegetables cloaked in something warm and cheesy. This is a delicious side dish perfect with steak, roast chicken or pork chops. Do not fear fennel: it has a deliciously ethereal flavour reminiscent of aniseed and celery, but nicer than either.  

Makes One Gratin to Feed 3

2 bulbs fennel

3 tbsp olive oil

2 sprigs thyme

3 cloves garlic

100 ml white wine

200 ml double cream

2 tsp capers, rinsed 

100g grated parmesan

100g breadcrumbs

4 anchovies

salt and pepper

chopped parsley to garnish

Heat the oven to 180. Slice the fennel bulbs into wedges and pour over the olive oil, some salt, pepper and the wine. place in a roasting dish, cover with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes. Crush the garlic into a pulp add to the cream and thyme. Add the fennel roasting juices to this, then bring the cream mixture to the boil and season to taste. Add the capers. Arrange the fennel in the dish, pour over the cream mixture, then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and parmesan. Arrange halved cherry tomatoes over the top. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.   

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