This is an adaptation of another Ottolenghi recipe (from Ottolenghi 53) that on first sight seems a little strange, but is absolutely delicious. I have grown fennel before, with some very limited success, but this fennel came from Pat and Ivan and their very bountiful allotment – thank you Pat and Ivan.
Ingredients: 2 bulbs of fennel; small pot of double cream (anything from 225ml – 300ml – more cream won’t hurt this dish!); thyme; cherry tomatoes; garlic; olive oil; grated cheese – ideally Parmesan but I used red leicester as that is what I had – this is why my final dish looks orange – well that and bad lighting; sweet crumble mix (I make large batches of this and freeze it as then I always have an instant dessert on hand – crumble is essentially a mix of butter, flour and sugar in a similar ration 60z butter, 12oz flour, and 8oz sugar – whiz it all in a food processor or rub together by hand. I then add nuts such as pecan or almond or oats or both – although not part of Ottolenghi’s recipe this addition to the crumble works really well. This amount of crumble mix makes loads so you will have a lot left over – you only need a few large handfuls)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the fennel and put in an oven proof bowl. Add olive oil, thyme leaves, garlic and seasoning and mix. Pour over the cream. Mix a handful or so of the crumble with some grated cheese and sprinkle on top (I was in a hurry so put the crumble on and then just dumped the cheese on top – it didn’t look as good, but tasted fine). Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes of so. Uncover and put a handful or two of cherry tomatoes on top and cook some more – maybe another 15 minutes. Remove and leave to rest for a bit and then devour.