Fennel is one of the aromatic umbellifers, alongside coriander dill and caraway. Its long stem is crowned with clusters of small flowers known as umbels which develop into beautiful, aromatic seeds which can be made into a soothing tea. The seeds have traditionally been used to sooth symptoms in the gut.
In this recipe the swollen base of the Florence fennel is sliced and used layered with potato and baked with a crust of Parmesan cheese. Potato and fennel are both low FODMAP vegetables.
Usually potato gratins contain onion but in this recipe chopped, chives picked straight from the garden work really well. So would wild garlic. It is in season in the UK now. Fructans are found in greater quantities in the bulb of the allium family than the leaves
- 1 small bulb of fennel, sliced lengthways very thinly
- 2 small old potatoes peeled and sliced thinly.
- 30 g/ 1 oz butter
- 2 tsp chopped chives
- ½ tsp organic vegetable stock (optional)
- 100 ml lactose free milk
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 20 g/ ¾ oz Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Preheat the oven to200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Place the sliced fennel in a pan of lightly salted water and boil for 5 minutes until tender. Drain the fennel and reserve 150 ml/ 5 fl oz of the cooking water. This will make a flavoured stock.
Lightly butter a baking dish and layer the sliced potatoes and fennel and scatter the chives between layers as you do.
Dissolve the vegetable stock powder, if using, in 100 ml/ 5 fl oz of reserved cooking water and add the milk. Pour this stock over the potatoes and fennel layers, dot a little butter over the surface and season. Cover the gratin with foil.
Place the gratin on a baking tray, to catch any spills as the liquid bubbles up in the oven, and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Take the dish from the oven and remove the foil. Scatter with the grated Parmesan cheese and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the top begins to brown.
If you would like more information about IBS and managing your sensitive gut please go to www.theibsnetwork.org