Roasted fennel, tomatoes, and white beans
Ingredients for 2 servings
- 1 medium fennel bulb with the fronds attached
- 45ml extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoons coarse sea salt, crushed
- 300g cherry tomatoes
- 80g mixed olives – (I leave the stones in, so f you do the same warn your guest)
- 20g of capers, rinsed
- 2 large fresh oregano sprigs, or 1teaspoon of dried oregano/marjoram
- 1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed chilli flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 120g of freshly picked white beans, weighed after podding plus a bay leaf (or a 400g tin of cannellini beans, drained)
Preheat oven to 200°C Fan (220°C conventional oven/Gas Mark 7).
Before roasting the fennel in the oven, if you are using the fresh, podded beans then put these into a saucepan of unsalted water, with the bay leaf, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20-40 minutes until soft, depending on the type of fresh beans. Drain once they are cooked. (I find that fresh Borlotti beans take around 20 mins but Coco ‘Sophie’ pole beans can take around 40 mins.)
Remove the fennel bulb fronds and reserve. Trim the fennel bulbs of any remaining very long stalks and cut in half vertically. Then cut each bulb half into 15 mm-wide wedges, leaving some core attached to each wedge.
Heat the oil in a large ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat until very hot, about 3 minutes. Add fennel wedges in single layer; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Cook until fennel begins to brown and soften, turning occasionally, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, olives, rinsed capers, oregano, garlic, and crushed chilli flakes; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold together gently.
Transfer the casserole dish to the oven. Roast the fennel olives and tomatoes until soft, about 30 minutes.
Take the freshly cooked beans (or the drained tinned beans if using) and mix with the contents of the casserole, together with a tablespoon of the chopped fennel fronds. Return the casserole to the oven for 5 minutes longer to heat through and then season further as necessary. Transfer to a large shallow bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped fronds. Can be served direct from the oven, warm or at room temperature.