Chefs' Recipes

Cafe di Stasio's fennel cooked in milk

A combination that just works.

  • 20 mins preparation
  • 1 hr cooking plus sitting
  • Serves 4
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Fennel cooked in milk
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


  • 1
    Heat 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).
  • 2
    Preheat 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).
  • 3
    Preheat 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.