Fennel Au Gratin
3 fennel bulbs, trimmed
300ml/½ pint/1¼ cups hot vegetable stock
25g/1oz/2 tbsp butter
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 bunch of spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
300ml/½ pint/1¼ cups double (heavy) cream
50g/2oz/½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt and ground black pepper
1 Cut the fennel into slices and place in a large shallow pan with the hot stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer gently for about 10–15 minutes until tender. Strain well, reserving the cooking liquid, and transfer to a gratin dish.
2 Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, add the garlic and spring onions and cook gently over a low heat for 5 minutes or until softened.
3 Add 150ml/¼ pint/scant ⅔ cup of the fennel cooking liquid to the pan, pour in the cream and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Season to taste.
4 Pour the sauce over the fennel and cook under a hot grill (broiler) for 1–2 minutes until bubbling and golden.