|All cooked and gloriously lovely|
"Ottolenghi" seems to be taking up pole position for the word which gets bandied about in conversations the most here, at the moment.
You know how some styles of cuisine just hit you right between the eyes as being just beyond brilliant and totally in accord with the way you'd like to be able to cook? Well that's Ottolenghi for me.
I had spotted this recipe when I first browsed through "The Cookbook" as it seemed a) achievable financially and b) achievable where the cooking was concerned. I have to be careful which recipes I choose, as I just don't have the stamina in my legs for recipes that have you galloping all over the kitchen for hours. Hence, I particularly like recipes that demand input at the beginning, then you get a rest while they're in the oven, with a final burst of activity prior to plating up - which hubby gets to do, while I give my back a rest and compose myself. Otherwise I'm just too stressed, what with the pain, finishing the dish and making sure the plating up happens neatly, to eat comfortably.
Aaaanyway, all that aside, this is by far and away the most delicious fennel dish I have ever had the good fortune to encounter. The juxtaposition of the savoury fennel with its creaminess and hints of garlic and thyme, set against the sweet but cheesy crumble, is just amazing. Hubby really really liked this dish and would be very happy to see it appear on the menu list again really quite soon. Son was rather less committed to it, but then he doesn't like cooked tomatoes, which were integral to the character of the dish. However, to give him his due, he did eat it all - which says quite a bit about it's acceptability.
|Halfway through cooking : just added crumble and tomatoes|
FENNEL, CHERRY TOMATO & CRUMBLE GRATIN (feeds 3)
2 Fennel bulbs, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
coarse sea salt
200ml double cream
200ml double cream
enough crumble to cover
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
150g cherry tomatoes – on the vine if possible
1 tsp chopped parsley to garnish
1. Preheat oven to 200degC/Gas mark 6. Trim off the fennel stalks and cut each bulb lengthways in half. Cut each half into slices. Place in a large bowl with the olive oil, thyme leaves, garlic, salt & pepper and toss together.
2. Transfer to an ovenproof dish and pour the cream over the fennel.
3. Mix the crumble with the grated parmesan and scatter evenly on top.
4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and arrange the tomatoes on top. Scatter a few fresh thyme springs on top and return to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.
5. Fennel should feel soft when poked with a knife & gratin should have a golden colour.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for a few minutes then sprinkle with chopped parsley prior to serving.