Fennel baked in milk, and topped with toasted breadcrumbs. It's a combination that just works, and we have Melbourne's Café di Stasio to thank.
- 60 ml olive oil (¼ cup)
- 4 fennel bulbs (about 350gm each), cut into 5mm slices
- 600 ml pouring cream
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 sage sprigs
- 50 gm parmesan, finely grated
- 60 gm fresh sourdough breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1Heat 20ml oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add fennel in batches, season to taste, and cook, turning occasionally, until golden (6-8 minutes).
- 2Preheat oven to 180C. Bring cream, garlic and sage to the simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add fennel, return to the simmer, then transfer with a slotted spoon to a 2.5-litre baking dish. Pour over enough cream to fill three-quarters of the dish. Scatter with two-thirds of the parmesan and bake until tender (30-35 minutes).
- 3Preheat grill to high heat. Combine remaining oil and parmesan with breadcrumbs, parsley and lemon juice in a small bowl. Scatter breadcrumbs over fennel and grill until golden (6-7 minutes). Stand for 5 minutes and serve hot.