A while ago a good friend and regular reader/critic of the blog, pointed out that I had developed a bit of an obsession with nuts in my recipes. As a nut sufferer she quickly pointed out the selfishness of this obsession. Pointing out how unfair it was for me to be posting such yummy looking food that she couldn’t eat.
It is only since this conversation that I have realised how right she was. So many of my dishes have a handful of seeds, flaked almonds or roasted hazelnuts thrown over… And writing up the recipe for this delicious gratin dish has brought to my attention that yet again I am sharing a dish covered in nuts.
Apologises to those who cannot partake. This shall be my final nutty recipe for a while.
In the meantime I shall leave you with a little tale and a word of advice. For any of those who are tempted… never take nuts from strangers.
‘A tour bus driver is driving with a bus full of seniors down a highway, when a little old lady taps him on his shoulder. She offers him a handful of almonds, which he gratefully munches down. After 15 minutes, she taps him on his shoulder again and she hands him another handful of almonds. She repeats this gesture about eight times. At the ninth time he asks the little old lady why she does not eat the almonds herself The little old lady replies that it is not possible because of their old teeth, they are not able to chew them. “Well, Why do you buy them then?” the driver asks puzzled. Where upon the old lady smiles, revealing her blackened gums and answers, “We just love the chocolate around them.”
- 400g Potatoes, cut in disks
- 1 Fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Thyme
- 3-4 tablespoons Creme Fraiche
- 100ml Vegetable Stock
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 clove of Garlic
- 50g Flaked Almonds
- 30g freshly graten Parmesan
- Salt and Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/ 350 degrees fahrenheit.
Grease a baking dish with Butter, I used a square 10 by 10 inch tray.
Use a mandolin, or sharp knife to cut the Potatoes in thin disks. The thinner the better. Do the same with the Fennel, keeping the root intact to get full wafer thin slices. Once they are sliced remove the fibrous part of the root at the base of the Fennel.
Put the Potatoes and Thyme in a large bowl with the Creme Fraiche and Stock. Season generously with Salt and Pepper and toss.
Heat the Oil in a frying pan, over a medium heat and fry the Fennel, a couple of minutes on each side. bash the clove of Garlic and mince to a pulp with the side of your knife. Once the Fennel is flipped to cook on the other side add the Garlic to caramelise for a couple of minutes. You want the Fennel softened slightly, not fried and crispy.
Pour the Potatoes in the baking tin, with the Creamy mixture. Arrange the Arrange the Slices of Potato and Fennel in layers.
Place the baking tray in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Add the Almonds and grated Parmesan and return the tray to the oven for a further 10 mins.