Wonderfully rich and satisfying, this is one of my favourite ways to eat fennel. The marjoram can be omitted or swapped for oregano.
juice of ½ a lemon
4 medium fennel bulbs
100ml pure cream
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 sprigs marjoram
150g grated parmesan
sea salt and black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional). Butter a 28cm ovenproof dish.
2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt.
3. Remove the stalks and feathery fronds from the fennel, reserving the fronds. Remove the tough outer layer and trim the base, keeping the bulb intact. Cook the fennel in the boiling water for 12-14 minutes, or until tender. Drain and cut the bulbs into quarters, or eighths if large.
4. Meanwhile, mix the cream with the nutmeg, garlic and marjoram. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Arrange the fennel snugly in the buttered dish and pour the cream mixture over and around the fennel. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly on top.
6. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cream is bubbling, the parmesan is golden and the fennel has cooked through. Scatter with the reserved fronds and serve.