Fennel parmigiana

Fennel parmigiana

snacks and sides | serves 12

I know that fennel isn’t classically associated with Christmas dinner, but this dish is absolutely delicious, so please give it a try. And if all of it doesn't get eaten, then it’s just as incredible the next day.

Christmas eve:
1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3. Layer 3 sheets of tin foil on a work surface and place the fennel in the centre. Squeeze over the lemon juice (keeping the skin halves to use for zest later), season and add a little olive oil. Crush 2 of the garlic cloves and add to the fennel with half of the thyme. Scrunch together the edges of the foil to make a sealed bag and bake in the oven for 60 minutes until the fennel is soft and juicy.
2. Meanwhile, add a drizzle of olive oil to a large pan and place over a medium heat. Finely chop the rest of the garlic and add to the pan with the onion, anchovies and rosemary. Cook for 10 minutes, until the onion is soft.
3. Add the tinned tomatoes to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break them up a bit. Put the lid on the pan and simmer slowly for 15 minutes.
4. Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce into a 32cm x 24cm ovenproof baking dish. Add a scattering of cheese, followed by a single layer of roasted fennel. Repeat these layers until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a little sauce and a sprinkling of cheese. Leave to cool, then cover and keep in the fridge until an hour before you are ready to bake.

Christmas day:
5. Remove the fennel from the fridge, and preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5. Toss 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs in a little olive oil, the lemon zest and remaining thyme. Sprinkle the rest of the crumbs over the fennel dish, then grate over the red leicester. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden, crisp and bubbling.

 

Recipe Jamie Oliver
Photo David Loftus


from Issue 33

ingredients

• 4 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
• 2 lemons, halved
• Olive oil
• 4 garlic cloves
• A small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
• 1 large onion, finely chopped
• 4 anchovy fillets
• 4 tsp dried rosemary
• 800g tinned plum tomatoes
• 100g Lincolnshire Poacher cheese, or sharp cheddar, grated
• 2 handfuls of fresh breadcrumbs
• Red leicester cheese, to serve

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