VegetablesAlison Lambert

VegetablesAlison Lambert

FENNEL - I could make a different dish a day with the many uses of this crunchy, aniseed flavoured bulb. The leaves are feathery light and add a delicious accompaniment to a salad, soup or chopped and scattered over fish. Fennel is the perfect partner with pork and it loves crayfish.

serves 8
1 clove of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
250 ml extra virgin olive oil
250 ml olive oil or good quality oil
Lemon juice to taste
Salt and pepper
Good handful fresh fennel leaves, roughly chopped

With a little salt, smash the garlic to a paste. Whisk the egg yolks and mustard together (you can use a food processor), in a bowl then slowly start to add the olive oil bit by bit - using two different types of oils will give it a more mellow flavour as pure extra virgin olive oil is a little too strong and peppery. Once you’ve blended in a quarter of the oil, start to add the rest in a more consistent stream. Add the garlic, lemon juice and fennel leaves and season to taste, adding more lemon or salt etc to get the right balance. Really delicious with fish, crayfish or cold roast pork!

Enough for 6

1kg waxy potatoes
2 large cloves garlic
2-3 fennel bulbs, and leaves of 1
Butter - just enough to butter the baking dish thickly
600ml cream
Good grating of parmesan cheese

Set the oven 160`C
Bring a good size pot of salted water to the boil. Prepare the fennel bulbs by removing the leaves as close to the bulb as possible. Remove any tough outer leaves of the bulb. Cut in half length ways, cut into wedges by cutting through the core of the bulb as this will keep the wedges together. Cook in boiling water for about 3-5 minutes until the fennel is tender. Drain.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into slice about the thickness of a dollar coin. Add them to a bowl with the cooked fennel. Roughly chopped the leaves from 1 fennel bulb and add to the potatoes. Add the cream and season well, with plenty of cracked black pepper. Add a generous amount of grated parmesan and mix to combine. Cut the cloves of garlic in half and rub them round the inside of the oven dish. Smear over the butter generously and add the potatoes and fennel with all the liquid. Pat down a little and scatter over a little more cheese and bake until bubbling and golden - about 1 hour.
Serve along side the crayfish, fish or roast pork!