This is perfect cold-weather comfort food – rich and creamy with nutmeg and anise seeds adding a warm toasty note to the dish, underneath a golden parmesan crust.
850 grams agria potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced
2 onions, sliced
2 large fennel bulbs, stalks trimmed, cut into thick slices
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
4 good anchovies, finely chopped (I used Ortiz)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon whole anise seeds
1 cup freshly grated parmesan
sea salt and ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.
Arrange the potatoes in a large oven-proof baking dish in overlapping circles and season with salt and pepper. Scatter over the onions then the fennel.
Combine the cream, milk, anchovies, garlic, nutmeg and the anise seeds in a jug then pour over the top. Season with salt and pepper.
Cover with a piece of baking paper then foil and seal tightly.
Bake the gratin for 1½ hours or until the vegetables are tender when pierced with a skewer.
Uncover and sprinkle over the parmesan. Place back in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the top is golden.
Pantry note: Anise is not the same ingredient as star anise. It is native to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions and has a distinctive, aromatic liquorice flavour and is a tiny, light brown coloured seed.