Roasted fennel and potatoes with tomato and olives
This roasted vegetable dish includes the best of British potatoes combined with fennel three ways, ripe tomatoes and salty olives. Fantastic in its own right or delicious served with fish or grilled chicken.
Fennel three ways
When a fennel appeared in my veg box I knew immediately that it was going to be chopped up and roasted. After all, is there a vegetable that doesn’t taste better for being drizzled with oil, cooked low and slow until it goes soft in the middle and crispy around the edges. Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables which is why I make sure to have some growing in our kitchen garden, all year round if possible!
I set to chopping up the giant fennel bulb I’d received and decided to raid the rest of my veg box for inspiration. Best of British new potatoes and sunshine ripened tomatoes were also in the bag. All I had to add were some olives, a few sprigs of fennel leaves from our garden and seeds we’d harvested earlier in the year.
The fennel bulb in particular takes on a whole new flavour when it is roasted. Raw fennel is crisp and its characteristic aniseed flavour shines bright. But cook it for 45 minutes and it mellows into something much sweeter and more delicate: an aroma that fills the house as it cooks. The seeds become wonderfully perfumed when heated. Though it’s the feathery, bright green leaves that are the perfect finishing touch. I like to sprinkle them over the dish just before serving to bring back some of that bright, crisp flavour that you lose through cooking.
Serve as a side or main
As much as the fennel is the star of the show with this one, British new potatoes are the perfect base. Did you ever come across a roast potato you didn’t like?! Crisp skins and fluffy insides make this a hearty dish that will certainly fill you up meaning this can easily be served as lunch or dinner by itself or with a protein of your choice.
If you’re vegan or veggie (like me!) I love it served hot straight out of the oven when the tomato juices are still hot, sticky and sweet. But, it works pretty well served cold too. If serving cold I quite like to add a dollop of hummus.
Halloumi, grilled fish and chicken all work well, as does pork but if cheese and meat aren’t your think I promise you won’t feel like you’re missing out.
Roasted Fennel and Potato with Tomato and Olives
This roasted vegetable dish includes best of British potatoes with fennel 3 ways, ripe tomatoes and salty olives. A fantastic dish in its own right or served with halloumi, grilled fish or chicken.
- 12 new potatoes
- 1 bulb fennel
- 500 grams tomatoes See Note 1
- 100 grams green olives pitted
- olive oil
- 3 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 bunch fennel leaves
Pre-heat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
In the meantime, bring a pan of water to the boil and add the potatoes, cooking for 5-10 minutes or until just tender.
Cut the fennel bulb into roughly 8 chunks and place in a roasting tin. Don't worry if the layers start to pull apart from each other.
Add the new potatoes (cutting any larger potatoes in quarters or halves so none are any bigger than 2 inches squared).
Next nestle the tomatoes between the potatoes and fennel (again cutting any larger tomatoes in quarters or halves) along with the olives.
Drizzle over the olive oil and season liberally with salt, pepper and the fennel seeds.
Roast in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, shaking the pan half way through.
Once the vegetables are roasted, remove from the oven and sprinkle with the fennel leaves.
Note 1: Heritage varieties are best, if you can get your hands on them. At the very least I'd recommend vine ripened tomatoes as they carry so much more flavour!