Baked fennel in tomato sauce

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August 8, 2014 by dgarnett2013

Baked fennel in tomato sauce: Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros

fennel

Serves 4 – 6

  • 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed
  • 5 tabs olive oil
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 4 basil leaves
  • about 3 tabs flour
  • 1 tab dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 tabs grated parmesan

Quarter the fennel bulbs from the top down, making sure the pieces stay hinged together.

Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the fennel for 10 mins or so, until softened but not soggy or overdone. Drain in a  colander and pat dry with paper towels.

Preheat the oven to 180℃.

Heat two tabs of the oil with 1 garlic clove in a small pot until it smells good. Add the tomatoes with some salt, pepper and sugar and simmer for 20 mins or so, until it is a sauce.

Tear in the basil just towards the end so it will perfume the tomato. Remove from the heat.

Use a large non-stick frying pan for the fennel. Put the flour in a bowl and pat it onto the fennel, coating it on all sides. Heat the remaining 3 tabs of olive oil in the pan.

Add the fennel, in one layer, and and the other garlic clove. Saute the fennel until golden and firm on all sides. If the garlic browns, remove it as it will have done its job.

Dollop about half the tomato sauce here and there on the bottom of the oven dish that you’ll bake the fennel in. Arrange the fennel in it so it all fits compactly. If some of the pieces are very big, halve them.

Dollop the rest of the tomato sauce on top. Scatter the breadcrumbs and parmesan over and bake for about 20 mins or until the top is golden and crusty in places.

Serve warm. Also good at room temperature.

Made the day we bought the new table from Petersham Nurseries.

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