Potato And Fennel Gratin

The slight licorice taste of the fennel is an excellent accompaniment to lamb.


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped leeks
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds (1 kilogram) Yukon gold potatoes peeled and thinly sliced (about 5 potatoes to yield about 5 cups sliced)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream


Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and sauté for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add fennel and leeks and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

Butter a medium baking dish (about 8 x 10 inches). Divide fennel mixture in half and potatoes into three portions. Make a thin layer of potatoes on base of dish and season with salt. Add half of fennel mixture. Continue layering and seasoning with salt, finishing with potatoes.

Combine milk and cream in a pot over high heat and heat until steaming. Pour over potatoes and dot top with remaining 2 tablespoons butter.

Bake for 1 hour, occasionally pressing down on potatoes to submerge them in the milk mixture, or until vegetables are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. Serves 6.