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Roasted fennel and tomatoes with black olives

Serves 4

If pushed, I think I prefer roasted fennel to any other type – its flavour is deliciously sweet and the aniseed flavour just a little less pronounced. I can't think of anything it doesn't work with. The slow-roasted tomatoes in this recipe take a little time to cook, but last well and are also good on all manner of things.

4 ripe plum tomatoes
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
A little olive oil

Heat your oven to 120C/250F/Gas . Slice the tomatoes in half and lay cut-side up on a baking tray. Mix the sugar, pepper and salt in a bowl then sprinkle evenly over the tomatoes. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for two hours. Remove and set aside to cool. While they are cooling, drizzle over the oil.

4 bulbs of fennel
Salt and pepper
1 dried red chilli, crumbled
1 tbsp olive oil
30ml/1fl oz extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
A dozen or so good-quality black olives
Sea salt and ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4. Remove the outer leaves from the fennel, reserving the fluffy green fronds as you do so. Slice into quarters and lay in a roasting tin.

Season with salt and pepper, add the chilli and pour over the oil.

Place on the middle shelf of the oven and roast for 45 minutes, by which time they should be tender and slightly caramelised.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Arrange the fennel and tomatoes on a plate, season and drizzle over the extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, scatter over the olives and fennel fronds, and serve.