Thursday 22nd August 2019
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Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

1½ bulbs fresh fennel – cut into wedges
5 or 6 small new potatoes – thickly sliced
A few stalks of cherry tomatoes
Olive oil
A dash of Pernod
Fresh herbs – I used oregano and thyme and some chives
A dash of balsamic vinegar

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Recipe by Dominic Franks, Belleau Kitchen

For the love of fennel – a winter warmer by Dominic Franks.

Regular readers will know of my love for fennel, both the fresh bulb with its mild aniseed flavour and fennel seeds that have a more intense and heady aniseed aroma and taste, almost verging on liquorice. The fresh bulb works wonders in a multitude of savoury dishes such as fennel risotto or a punchy curried fennel and carrot soup whilst the fennel seeds work in both savoury and sweet dishes; in a sort of miracle-of-wonders, salted-caramel kind of vibe, the liquorice sweetness kicks in.

I think it’s a bit of an unsung hero of the vegetable world and yes, I realise that aniseed as a taste can be polarising but sliced ultra-thinly in a layered beetroot and fennel salad with a sharp lemony sauce, it’s a taste of Mediterranean heaven on a plate which I think is what we need in these cold wintery days.

This is a great side dish for eating with your favourite protein – it works particularly well with barbecued salmon or a roast chicken but I also think it works well as a stand-alone vegetarian main with a salad and some of your favourite cheese… there’s really nothing to it other than slowly roasting the vegetables in oil and a little Pernod but it’s a taste sensation well worth sharing.

• Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
• Place the potatoes and fennel into a roasting tin, add the oil, dash of Pernod and herbs and toss around. Roast for half an hour until the potatoes are golden and the fennel is beginning to blacken.
• Take out of the oven, lay the tomatoes on top, drizzle over a little balsamic vinegar and then roast again for 15 min until it’s all tender.

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