Tomato and Fennel Gratin Recipe

Monday night dinner was delayed a day this week.   We made plans to have a bottle of wine and large bag of popcorn while watching 2016.  It was a perfect date night. Tuesday night was filled with food and the usual Monday night traditions.  The husband did his thing, and I had the kitchen to myself to try out new recipes and make something special.

What was on the menu?  Roasted chicken thighs, tomato and fennel gratin, and sweet potato soufflé.  It was so good that it was decided that the dishes are now fall staples.

I don’t think I need to tell you how to roast chicken thighs.  It is also really boring, and you have google.  So let’s just get to the good stuff, the gratin. It sort of reminded us of a heavenly pasta dish, because the fennel is such a great substitution.  Next time I will double the fennel portion of the recipe.  My mouth is watering just thinking about the leftovers in the fridge!

Tomato and Fennel Gratin

  • 5 small roma tomatoes, sliced in ¼” thick slices
  • 1 large fennel bulb, stalk removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 oz (56 grams) crème fraiche (we make our own)
  • 2 tbsp black olive tapenade (see notes below, I deviated)
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese (I probably used more)
  • Handful of fresh thyme leaves
  • S&P to taste

Notes prior to cooking:
If your tomatoes are super juicy, you can place them in a colander and sprinkle them with a little salt.  Let them hangout for about 20 minutes and this will remove the excess water.  Also note that the better the tomatoes, the better the gratin will taste.

I did not have all the traditional tapenade ingredients on hand, so I made my own version.  Finely chopped black olives and garlic with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  It was wonderful and might be making appearances in other recipes.  I also don’t love capers, so this was a good solution.

Preheat oven to 375

Steam the fennel for 8-10 minutes or until it is tender.  In a bowl, toss the fennel, crème fraiche, olive tapenade, half of the thyme and parmesan, and season with S&P.

Butter the bottom of a small baking dish.  Place the fennel mixture at the bottom of the dish.  Arrange the tomato slices over the fennel in overlapping rows.  Season with S&P and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and thyme leaves.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown and the gratin is bubbly.  Let is rest for 5 minutes before serving and then enjoy!

The sweet potato soufflé recipe will be posted tomorrow.


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