Tomato and fennel gratin with a sriracha crumb recipe

Tomato and fennel gratin with a sriracha crumb
Tomato and fennel gratin with a sriracha crumb: a bit of hands-on effort, but not much, really - Haarala Hamilton

As with most gratins, there’s a tiny bit of hands-on effort at the beginning of the cooking process here. But not much, really. And that effort is handsomely rewarded with a meal that’s layered with different flavours and textures. Mop up the moreish sauce with some sourdough bread.


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes




  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small fennel bulb, weighing about 150g, sliced paper-thin using a mandolin

  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

  • 220ml double cream

  • 1 tbsp thyme leaves

  • 25g Parmesan, finely grated

  • 500g small vine tomatoes (golf-ball-sized – or if bigger, cut in half)

  • rocket or watercress, to serve

For the crumb

  • 150g fresh sourdough, torn into chunks, plus extra, to serve

  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 heaped tbsp sriracha or other hot sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas mark 7. Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a frying or sauté pan over a medium heat, then add the fennel and a pinch of salt. Sauté gently for 3-4 minutes, then add the sliced garlic and, 30 seconds later, the cream, thyme and half the Parmesan. Bring to a simmer, then transfer to a gratin dish in which the tomatoes will fit in one fairly snug layer. Add those tomatoes, drizzle with the remaining oil and bake at the top of the oven for 18 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, for the crumb, pulse the sourdough in a blender or food processor until you have fine, soft breadcrumbs. Wipe down the frying pan, add the oil and set over a medium-high heat. Add the breadcrumbs, stir to soak up the oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden. Stir in the garlic and then the sriracha. Remove from the heat.

  3. Remove the gratin from the oven, squidge the tomatoes a little using the back of a fork so some of their juices spill into the cream (but not so hard that they no longer resemble tomatoes), sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top, then sprinkle all the breadcrumbs over that. Return to the oven for five more minutes.

  4. Serve with more fresh sourdough and a handful of rocket or watercress, if you would like something green alongside.