potato, fennel and thyme gratin


I still remember the first time I tasted fresh fennel. I was in the lunchroom at work, eating something very mundane (like a cheese and ham sandwich; this was before I discovered the value of preparing nutritious lunches the night before) when Aviva, a colleague of mine, pulled out a snap-lock bag of carrot sticks. Hiding among the carrots were some pieces of sliced white vegetable with pale green veins. Noting my curiosity, she gave me a piece to try; it was crisp, watery, fragrant with peppery aniseed. Now, I’m not a fan of liquorice but I love aniseed (weird but true. My husband is exactly the same). This thing was like Sambuca in vegetable form.


On the way home, I stopped in at my local greengrocer to find a piece of this vegetable heaven (which had now been identified as fennel). I bought two small bulbs, an organic lemon and a can of chickpeas. Half an hour later, I crunched through a whole bulb dipped in good extra virgin olive oil and homemade harissa-spiked hummus.


Needless to say, since then fennel has become a permanent item on my shopping list. Aaron and I (being aniseed fiends) eat it shaved in various salads, braised in stock, roasted with potatoes and carrots, pan-fried with pine nuts or, simplest of all, in chunks with a drizzle of olive oil and shaved Parmesan. So good.

Today’s post contains a slightly more complicated recipe than those mentioned above. My husband and I had a group of friends over last night to play The Settlers of Catan (don’t start playing this game, it’s addictive) and I decided to cater with a garlicky slow-roasted lamb shoulder, potato and fennel gratin, roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots followed by warm sticky date pudding with butterscotch sauce. The gratin was a hit. The sauteing process and the deliciously creamy sauce diffuse the pungent fennel just enough for aniseed-haters to enjoy it whilst also maintaining a pleasing balance of flavour against the crunchy toasted walnuts and fresh thyme.


So, whether you’re a fennel fan or not, I’d encourage you to try this recipe soon with some succulent roast meat, crusty bread and a glass of good Shiraz. It takes a bit of time to prepare but once you’ve perfected the method, it will soon come together into a warming, nourishing dish to enjoy on a cold winter’ evening.


Potato, Fennel and Thyme Gratin

Adapted from this recipe by Ina Garten

Serves 6-8 as a side dish

  • 1 large or 2 small Florence fennel bulbs (equivalent to 4 cups sliced fennel)
  • 1 brown onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 kg (2 lb) firm-fleshed potatoes (I used Royal Blue)
  • 2 cups thickened (heavy) cream
  • 2 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used 1 cup grated vintage Cheddar, 1 cup grated Dutch Gouda and 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled)
  • a small handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked (about 1 tbsp of leaves)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup crumbled raw walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (350 degrees F). Butter the inside of a 10-cup baking dish, then set aside.

Thoroughly wash your fennel to remove any soil or grit. With a sharp knife, remove the stalks, woody base and fronds (retain the feathery fronds for garnish and discard the rest). Divide the fennel bulb in half; thinly slice the bulbs crosswise.

fennelcut2Melt the butter in a large pan or pot with the splash of olive oil (the oil helps to prevent the butter from burning).  Add in your sliced onion and fennel, then sauté on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes (or until tender). Set aside to cool slightly.

potatomontWash and peel your potatoes. Thinly slice them (about 3mm thick) by hand or with a mandoline. In a large bowl, mix your sliced potatoes with the cream, 2 cups of cheese,  the fresh thyme leaves, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add in the sautéed fennel and onion. Mix well until the cheese and fennel mixture are thoroughly incorporated.

potatoes and creamPour the potato mixture into your prepared baking dish. Arrange the top layer of potatoes if necessary (for presentation purposes) then press down lightly to immerse the top layer under the cream. Sprinkle over the remaining cheese.


Cover with foil and bake for one hour before removing the foil and sprinkling over the walnuts. Bake for another 30-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are very tender and the top is browned and bubbling. Set aside for ten minutes to rest before serving.


Extra notes about Fennel:

  • Fennel is widely cultivated for both culinary and medicinal uses. Florence fennel (the popular cultivated type of fennel used in this recipe) has sweeter flesh than wild types and the inflated leaf bases are edible both in raw and cooked form. Florence fennel is one of the three main herbs used in the preparation of absinthe (an alcoholic mixture which originated as a medicinal elixir in Switzerland and became, by the late 19th century, a popular alcoholic drink worldwide).
  • Fennel is sometimes mislabeled as ‘anise’ in supermarkets (I’ve also seen it labelled as ‘aniseed’ here in Australia)
  • The bulb, foliage and seeds of fennel (both wild and cultivated) are edible. Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, anise-flavoured spice that is often used in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. In many parts of India and Pakistan, roasted fennel seeds are consumed as mukhwas, an after-meal digestive and breath freshener.
  • Medicinal uses: Fennel is sometimes used to treat flatulence in humans (and dogs!) by encouraging the expulsion of intestinal gas. Other sources claim that fennel is useful as a diuretic, that it improves eyesight and also lowers blood pressure. An organic compound in the fennel, anethole, is responsible for most medicinal benefits (but then again, anethole is also responsible for the psychoactive effects of guarana and absinthe… so moderation is likely the key).

110 responses

  1. With a menu like that, I’d love to come eat at yours! I’m salivating ;) Nothing beats creamy cheesy potato, am I right?? And thanks for the fennel facts: I’m going to start feeding it to my dogs in the hope they produce fewer overwhelmingly noxious gases. Seriously, you have to run out of the room holding your breath, yuk. Excellent example of too much information there! xx

    • Bahaaa! I need to feed more of it to my husband’s friends (I practically need a gas mask on their games nights. At least dogs don’t ‘let off’ competitively!!). And you’re absolutely positively welcome at mine, any time. I’ll make sure there’s adequate cheesy creamy potato, plenty of wine and a TEED soundtrack. Let me know when! ;) xx

  2. Hi Laura, I also remember the first time I tasted fresh fennel (only a few months ago!). I’ve been quite obsessed with putting fresh fennel in my salads ever since. Your recipe seems lovely.

    • It’s a lovely vegetable, isn’t it. I love fennel salads with fresh orange, toasted almonds, goats cheese and vinaigrette :) So crisp, refreshing and summery! x

  3. Sounds delicious. I’ll have to give fennel another go, last time I had it it was really tough, maybe it was a bit old? We’ve not played settlers for years, brilliant game and yes very addictive!

    • Hello lovely! Yes, if your fennel was tough and fibrous it must have been an old one. The young, crisp fennel bulbs are definitely tender, whether you eat them raw or cooked. I’d definitely recommend that you give fennel another go. A fresh, crisp bulb in a salad is so beautiful, particularly if you’re a fan of aniseed :)
      Yes. Settlers seems to be sticking within our group of friends. At least five of the boys have bought a set, plus expansion packs. It’s getting ridiculous; the games are becoming giant (and lasting for… uh, five hours?!). I tend to retreat to my laptop after a while (and supply snacks intermittently, like a good wifey). Thanks so much for the comment xx

  4. Love the smell of fennel … and I can feel it through your post here. This I will save, Often do a fish soup … orange … and it has fennel in it … fantastic vegetable – this I will try with a good grill piece of pork during next weekend. I just love your photos .. especially the one .. 4th from the top .. of the cut bulb. Beautiful. Will let you know .. how I will get on with it.

    • Hi lovely Viveka. Thanks so much for the comment. Fennel is a beautiful vegetable to photograph, I had a lot of fun getting macro shots of the fronds :) Hope that you enjoy the gratin if you try it. We had a beautiful meal together – dishes like this are so lovely to share and enjoy in company. Grilled pork sounds beautiful; so does the fish soup! I’ve never made a fish soup. Do you have your recipe posted on My Guilty Pleasures? Thanks again for taking the time to comment xx

    • Aw thanks Suzanne! Your encouragement is so appreciated. The gratin was delicious; I really have to be in the mood to eat creamy potato dishes but the additional fennel and thyme really hit the spot :) Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m a big fan of your blog xx

  5. This is one dish I will make. I love potatoes and lots of cheese. Your fennel looks so fresh. I have seen fennel over here which are costly and does not look good but I will just give it a try. Great recipe Laura. Wish I was there to be your assistant so that I can taste the lamb shoulder too :-)

    • Thanks Danny. Yes, I definitely agree about the potato and cheese. It’s comfort food at its best!! Sorry to hear that you can’t get fresh fennel over there. We’re lucky in Australia as pretty much every market stall sells cheap fennel! I do think that the sauteing and baking will break down any fibrous fennel that you have though. Good luck, and YES I would love to have you over for dinner! The lamb shoulder was incredible. I slow-cooked it for five hours til it fell off the bone :)

  6. What a lovely ode to fennel! I also dislike liquorice but love fennel seed. So strange! Just spent a happy hour reading through older posts on your blog. You have a beautiful eye for styling and photography.

    • Oh, hello beautiful! Thanks so much for the encouragement. I love the photography aspect of blogging. I had never really thought about food styling previously but it’s a lot of fun now that I’m used to it! Haha… seems like there are a few of us who distinguish between liquorice, aniseed and fennel! It does seem strange, as they’re similar ingredients, but I guess it makes sense to my tastebuds :) Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’m a big fan of your blog also. Can’t wait to swap more stories and recipes together from now on! xx

  7. Fennel fan too! :) I have made a fennel gratin and now I have an improved version of my recipe! I don’t even need for it to be winter Laura. I would make this anytime of the year. I especially love the walnuts on top. I didn’t use potatoes in my recipe and I imagine if I added them I could serve this as a main. We do enjoy eating heartier vegetable dishes as a main course. I’m bookmarking this one!

    • Hello lovely, I definitely agree… I’d serve gratin with salad in summertime as a light meal. Delicious! How have you previously made fennel gratin? I added the potatoes as we have a few friends who aren’t keen on strong flavours. The dish ended up diffusing the fennel beautifully. There was a soft, sweet fennel flavour enrobed in creamy cheese sauce with soft potato. Yum! I hope that you enjoy this if you try it. I think it’ll become a regular in our household! xx

  8. I love fennel (but like you, I don’t like liquorice much)! Never had it in a gratin though, but it sounds like I would like it! I love making simple salads using it (check out my Italian fennel and orange salad, it is DEEEELICIOUS ;) ), or simply roasting it with other veggies and a good olive oil…

    • Haha, yaaay we’re not the only fennel/aniseed lovers who don’t like liquorice! I do think that they’re entirely different flavours, though I’ve had friends who have argued differently. I’ll take a look at your orange and fennel salad. It sounds beautiful! I make one with similar ingredients myself. The fennel seems to pair so well with the orange, doesn’t it? Thanks for the inspiration! xx

  9. Isn’t feel the absolute best? I can’t remember my first fennel but we use it often, like you, in salads, stews, soups – you name it! I love it candied, too, to add to the top of a fennel cake I like to make. This gratin is new to me and I can’t wait to try it! Beautiful photos, too!

    • Yes I agree completely David! Wow, I’d love to see your recipe for fennel cake. I’ve never tried fennel in a sweet dish, but I can imagine how it’d work due to the natural sweetness of the vegetable and seeds. I appreciate your kind words and encouragement so much :)

  10. I’m all over game night. We love Catan but it’s been a while since I played. Have you tried Ticket to Ride?
    I have fennel in the garden that I’d be pleased to use in a dish such as this and with the lamb?yum.
    cheers, wendy

    • Hi Wendy! Thanks for the lovely comment. Ah, you’re so lucky to be able to grow fennel. I live in a tiny apartment and I’m struggling to grow herbs on the balcony at present. I’d love to have a beautiful garden with plenty of plots for veggies one day :) YES we’ve also played Ticket to Ride! I like it a little more than Catan as it’s less involved (for nights when I’m not at an optimal level of alertness!). We’ve also started playing Puerto Rico but that’s pretty complex too. I hope you enjoy the gratin if you have time to make it :) Yum indeed! x

    • Hi John! How did you make your gratin? I was thinking about just layering it in with the potato but ended up sauteing it beforehand to make it soft and caramelised. I do love fennel, however it’s cooked… I was pretty pleased with this recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment :)

  11. I am very happy, Laura, that I found your most inspiring blog through your comment on mine! And fennel… I just love it. This recipe of yours looks and sounds this great- even with summer and not winter ahead over here in Berlin, I will have to try this gratin soon, and I love the thyme twist that you added to this. Also the photos are very beautiful, especially the detail pics (and the plate with the blue flower design is so cute). Thanks a lot for the inspiration!
    Best, Claudia

    • Hello Claudia! Thanks so much for visiting my patch of the blogosphere! I adore your blog… your photography and writing is just beautiful. It’s also wonderful to have made another blogging friend across the other side of the world. Though we live so far apart, we can be a little closer via the internet :) I appreciate your kind words about this gratin. I did love the extra dimension with the fennel and thyme. I’d probably add even more fennel next time to make the flavour more dominant. Looking forward to sharing more recipes and stories together! Hugs xx

  12. That sounds really good – I’m never sure what to with fennel apart from braise it or roast it. Fennel tea is my favourite herbal tea, one to try if you haven’t already!

    • Thanks Rachel. You know what? I went out and bought some fennel tea today!! It’s quite nice, it’s got liquorice root in it also though (not sure whether that’s different to the one you’ve tried). Apparently it’s supposed to help with digestion. Pretty cool how plants can have so many therapeutic benefits :) x

  13. Neither liquorice nor aniseed are my thing, yet I do like fennel braised. As for trying it raw in salads would be pushing it. Why, then, do I love fennel seeds? Which reminds me, must buy them in. Especially as sweetcorn season is, sort of, around the corner here – so good with even tinned sweetcorn. As for a gratin – ah, they’re one of my favourites at any time of year. And fennel I would far prefer over celeriac. Would quite happily forego the lamb and just escape with the whole dish of gratin – all to myself!
    – Have been meaning to ask if you’re on Pinterest. There’s no indication that you’re on anything other than WP. So, you like to keep to yourself!

    • Hm, I do think that the braising process brings out the natural sweetness of fennel whilst diffusing its aniseed flavour. This gratin does the same thing; and yes I definitely agree that fennel is much nicer in gratin than celeriac! As for fennel seeds – hm, not sure Johnny. I think they have a pretty strong aniseed flavour (maybe in the sweetcorn dish you make, the corn overwhelms the taste of the aniseed? Hm, either that or you’re an enigma!). As for Pinterest, yep I do have my own profile. I’m also on bloglovin’ and facebook, though with the latter I haven’t created a specific page for the Mess as yet. I haven’t bothered to link up any other social media to my blog so far… mostly because I’m yet to figure out how. I’ll get on to it soon! Promise! Thanks for inquiring (nice to know that I may have one friend if I do start a fb page!)

  14. Growing up, fennel was very often served — but always raw. No one ever cooked it. I was the first to do so and served it to my Mother and Aunt, both of whom were shocked. Even so, I’ve only cooked with it a few times. I buy it and end up snacking on it raw. Mixing it with potatoes, though, to create a gratin sounds delicious, Laura. Maybe next time I should buy 2 bulbs. Once for snacking and one for your tasty gratin. :)

    • Hi John! So interesting to hear your fennel experience. Haha… did your mother and aunt like the cooked version? I’d be scared to serve something new up to such esteemed, capable cooks! I do love raw fennel though. It almost doesn’t need anything done to it… crisp, fresh and fragrant. I do hope you like the gratin if you try it. The creamy sauce drowned the fennel flavour out a little more than I intended it to (though I did have one aniseed hater at the table so it was probably a good thing!) but it was still delicious :)

    • Thanks so much Keith. Fennel is definitely a favourite vegetable of mine (glad that you love it too!). I really appreciate you taking the time to comment :)

    • Haha, YES!! You are always welcome at my house Azita! It would be so wonderful to cook dinner for you and Fiona. Sigh… why do you have to live so far away? :( I’m glad we can keep in contact via blogging though. I’ll just need to keep saving so I can come and visit! xx

    • Hello Asmita! Thanks so much for the comment. It’s definitely a delicious combination, if you like gratin in general I’m sure you’ll love it. Thanks again :)

  15. Man, Laura, this gratin looks so good! My relationship with fennel is super rickety at best and I am NOT a fan, but this recipe and glorious pics are seriously making me reconsider giving this veggie another chance =) I am also intrigued by your addition of walnuts too. Just lovely, lovely … as always. Thanks so much for sharing your brilliance; it brought sunshine to the start of a brand new week. Can’t wait for what you come up next =) Have a wonderful day, Laura, talk soon xo!

    • Hi Christina! Aw, sorry to hear that you’re not a fan of fennel. It is a pretty strong taste when you eat it alone. The gratin seems to diffuse the flavour nicely though (it’s all that cream, cheese and potatoes!) so it’d probably be a great re-introduction to the rogue vegetable! And the walnuts? Well, I guess I just like them :) But they did go nicely with the blue cheese and fennel too! Thanks so much for your kind words. You’re gorgeous, inside and out! Hope that you’re well beautiful xx

  16. Laura – this gratin looks incredible! I love your story about how you were first introduced to fennel. I honestly can’t remember my first time with fennel, but it was also later in life and I have loved it ever since! What a fun way to spice up a potato gratin. Your entire meal sounds incredible – I am sure you are a fantastic hostess! I have been hearing about that game a lot lately – may have to check it out! Hope you’re doing well love! xo

    • Lindsay! Hello beautiful! Haha… yes, I have a strange ability to remember irrelevant facts of all kinds (though it works well for blogging at times!). We had a lovely night. I love wintry weather when you can leave the oven on for hours to warm the house :) Re Settlers, argh, it’s taking over the world! I’m not a huge fan myself (it’s all about trading wood, wheat etc) but Aaron loves it. He and the guys can play for hours as long as there’s adequate beer in the fridge! We are doing really well thanks. I hope you guys are too. Wish you lived closer as I’d invite you straight around for dinner! xo

    • Hi Ruby! Fresh fennel is absolutely delicious… as long as you like aniseed! It’s a pretty strong flavour when fresh, though it diffuses a little in the creaminess of the gratin :) Thanks so much for taking the time to comment xx

    • Hello lovely! Haha, yep fennel with hummus is one of my favourite snacks (actually, hummus with anything… I always keep a batch in the fridge!). Thanks so much for the comment xx

    • Aw, thanks so much Paula! It’s a wonderful dish, though I do also love caramelised fennel like you! Yum! As for the harissa hummus, it’s one of my favourite things at the moment. I usually just make a regular batch of lemony hummus then top it with good extra virgin olive oil and a swirl of harissa. It’s so good! xx

  17. Wow, this looks incredible! My first experience with fennel was this past Halloween – I was trying to copy a Martha idea by sticking a bulb in an old pickle jar with some water and red food coloring to make it look like a heart. It was a great idea until the huge bulb wouldn’t fit through the top of the jar. Oops. I ended up just eating it, and it was delicious! I can’t wait to try this gratin.
    On another note, my husband and I LOVE Settlers of Catan. I get kind of freakishly competitive and like to hoard my resources!

    • Hello lovely! Thanks so much for the comment. Haha… I love the idea of putting the fennel in a jar to mimic a heart. Darn it, sorry the jar was too small… but at least you got to eat it instead! Re Settlers, I wish you guys could come over for our next tournament. It’s heaps of fun, we stock up on plenty of snacks and play the night away. You’d be welcome over for dinner any time! :)

  18. That fennel is delicious looking! I don’t think I’ve seen such a well-formed fennel bulb commercially available. Did you grow it yourself? If not, who sells them looking so delightful as that?!

    • Haha, I definitely agree that it’s a beautiful specimen Mr P! I actually bought the fennel from a farmer’s market in my local suburb (grown by an elderly Italian gentleman, so I suppose he knows what he’s doing!). Unfortunately I only have a small balcony area for herbs, tomatoes, kale and a few other things. I’d love to be able to grow my own fennel. At the moment I keep dreaming of moving into a house with vegetable plots and a chicken coop! :)

  19. Another variant on this recipe: instead of cheese, you could use a mashed rutabaga and coconut cream mixture – the flavors of rutabaga and coconut cream are amazing, and would add a totally new dimension to this dish! And they would mix really well with the fennel and thyme flavors!
    Also, you could use grilled vidalia instead of white potato. It falls apart unless you use really thick slices; but when you grill it, the pre-cooking (and the way vidalia responds to grilling) will make it sweet in the dish!

    • Thanks so much for the suggestions. I actually just mentioned to Brandi (@The Healthy Flavor) that I wanted to figure out some healthy substitutions (like coconut cream) so this has come at just the right time! I like the idea of mashing the rutabaga with the coconut cream. I’ve never heard of vidalia though. I just Googled it, so now I know it’s an onion, but I’m pretty sure that it’s unattainable here in Australia. Sad face, as it sounds beautiful! I will try the other substitutions though. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

      • Do you have any other kinds of sweet onions available? Vidalia is well known around here because they are quite sweet once they’ve been cooked a bit, and people often look to use them in situations that warrant the sweet flavor that the vidalia can bring. But other sweet onions will work well here; use a very thick cut (2-3 centimeters thick, or more) and grill it. The flavor will be great!

      • I usually use Spanish (red) onions for a ‘sweeter’ type of flavour. We also get white salad onions and shallots that are a little less astringent and peppery than the normal brown ones. I’ll have a look at the market and see what I can find :)

  20. Laura, this looks absolutely beautiful and delicious! I love the thyme in it and the fennel…I bet the flavors are wonderful. Your pictures are just stunning too, I just want to jump in the screen! :)

    • Aw, thanks so much Brandi! You’re so lovely. It was definitely delicious – not exactly the healthiest of vegetable dishes but it definitely pleased the boys! I’m going to try to veganise it some time soon. Not sure how I’d go with coconut cream or milk substitutes. I’ll put my thinking cap on! xx

    • Aw, thanks so much Loretta! Wish you could’ve come over for dinner! It’s a shame that we all live so far away from each other. I have dreams of a blogger dinner one day (we’d have to find a massive venue, haha) x

    • Hi Rhonda! I definitely agree – it’s not a usual combination but it worked well in the gratin. As the fennel was sauteed initially, it just incorporated into the sauce and created this wonderful fennel flavour, with some chunks of soft fennel here and there. I love potato gratin and I’ve loved fennel for a long while so it was the best of both worlds for me! :)

  21. I love gratin with thyme and have made it many times. I have not, however, cooked as much with fennel as I am sort of afraid of its strong flavor, but I’ve heard from other cooks that it’s actually great in recipes. Got to try it!

    • Hi Julia! Hm, I can definitely understand the hesitation. Fennel is definitely a strong flavour if you eat it raw (great if you like aniseed, terrible if you don’t!) but when it’s braised or roasted (or sauteed in creamy sauce like this dish) the flavour diffuses a lot. It ends up being soft and sweet… a little like sweet onion, in want of a better comparison. Hope that you try this! I thought it was delicious (the thyme and potato would win you over at the very least!). Thanks so much for commenting xx

    • Haha… I’ve discovered that Settlers is quite a global phenomenon (in the Western world, anyway!). It’s good if you like German-style strategy games. And the gratin… it’s so delicious. I think next time I might put a crumb topping on it. Your panko one looked good… hm, do you think there’s a way it could work without going soggy?

  22. Deelicious!!! I’d never eaten fennel until my friend raved about this fennel soup she made and I finally bought some to try it. It’s so delicious! I love how it roasts up beautifully and I can imagine it would be great in a heavenly cheesy gratin like this :) Oh man this is totally making me crave fennel.

    I love that you just went out and bought some after tasting it! Haha I don’t know how much I’d love raw fennel, but homemade harissa hummus sounds AMAZING!

    • Haha, I am definitely a bit impulsive like that! I’m glad that I did though, I’ve been loving it ever since! Oh, and yep… the harissa hummus was so good. I make it regularly, I need to post a short ‘recipe’ on here one day (it doesn’t really need an entire recipe as it’s just homemade hummus with harissa, but… well!). Thanks for the lovely comment xx

    • Naw, I love you Jeannee! You’re always so encouraging. I do try my best on this little blog but you definitely outshine me in the photo department! Just read your latest post. I am so envious of your Summer weather and the gorgeous food that you’ve been making over there. Hope that you have a beautiful party today xx

      • I do think you underestimate your natural ability lovely…. but I look forward to seeing how things develop with your newfound knowledge! I thought that your latest post had gorgeous pictures, so you must be putting your learning to good use! xx

  23. My Mom was a fennel lover growing up but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I too came to love it. Your entire menu sounds otherworldly delicious and this gratin is total comfort food! Fennel is great paired with potatoes.

    • Aw, thank you so much Reeni. I appreciate you hugely. I think that fennel is quite an ‘adult’ flavour… both the fragrance and the flavour of aniseed is dominant so I imagine I wouldn’t have liked it as a child either! I’m glad we’ve both found it as adults though. It’s so delicious and I really enjoyed it in this gratin :) Thanks for taking the time to comment xx

  24. My take-home message from Maggie’s this week (y’know, Maggie Beer) is that verjuice removes the aniseed taste from fennel. I really dislike aniseed so I am going to give the verjuice a go.

    • I love Maggie Beer. She is pretty much one of my food heroes. I love the aniseed flavour so I wouldn’t be using the verjuice any time soon, but thanks for sharing the tip! I think it’ll be useful for aniseed-despising readers :) Big hugs to you non-ugly Elissa! xx

    • Aw, I’ve never used aniseed or fennel in bread before. Sounds delicious! Do you have a recipe on your blog? I’ll have to go hunting… (oh, and yep the gratin is beautiful. Definitely worth trying if you love aniseed!) x

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