I love a good, thin, baked and layered potato situation. When the edges around the slices get nice and crispy, and the center stays fluffy and soft, it’s just absolute texture perfection. So I put together this little creamy potato fennel bake to get as much of this textural magic as possible in one dish. At its heart, it’s good simple eatin’. But with all the thinly sliced potatoes on top and the delicious + colorful garnishes, it looks pretty fancy!
So, what’s inside? Well, it’s made up of multiple alternating layers of potato, fennel, and a flavor-packed onion and cashew-based cream sauce, which is then baked altogether until the fennel softens and the flavor of the sauce seeps into all the veggies, and the potatoes on top get perfectly golden and crunchy around the edges. Then you can pull this fragrant potato fennel bake out of the oven and top it with some of the green fronds from the fennel (if your fennel bulbs didn’t come with any fronds attached, whatever fresh herbs you prefer or have on hand work fine), some lemon zest, and chopped pistachios for a touch of extra crunch and sweetness.
I made a recipe video below that takes you through all the steps to make this tasty little dish, but I’ll write my tips here, too, just to be safe! So to get the potatoes nice and thin, it helps to use a mandoline to slice them (I recommend using one with a hand guard so you don’t accidentally cut your fingertips). The fennel bulb is a little too tough and unwieldy to safely use on a mandoline, so I recommend cutting that into thin slices the old fashioned way with a sharp knife. With the richness of the cashew cream, this dish is filling enough to have as a main, but it works great as a side, too. We also *really* loved the leftovers as a breakfast/brunch dish with a fried egg on top. Enjoy, my friends!
Creamy Potato Fennel Bake
- 1 cup raw cashews soaked overnight and then drained
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 1/3 cups milk
- 2/3 cup water or vegetable stock
- Juice from 1 large lemon 1/4 cup
- 1 tablespoon Yeast flakes
- 2 teaspoons salt can add more to taste, if desired
Creamy Potato and Fennel Bake
- 2 pounds russet potatoes peeled and cut into very thin slices (ideally with a mandoline)
- 2 fennel bulbs very thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds or your preferred fresh herb
- Extra olive oil, for brushing on after it's done
- In a blender or food processor, combine all of the cashew cream ingredients on high speed until silky smooth. Set aside.
Creamy Potato and Fennel Bake
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 10 x 13-inch casserole dish and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, toss the sliced potatoes with the olive oil, salt, thyme, and rosemary until evenly coated in the oil and spices.
- Now we can start layering everything. On the bottom of the pan, make an even layer of 1/3 of the sliced potatoes, laying them so that they're slightly overlapping. Then take half of the fennel slices and lay them in an evenly-spaced layer on top of the potatoes. Pour half of the cashew cream over the fennel and use a spatula to evenly spread it out.
- Now it's time for layering round 2. Make an even layer of another 1/3 of the sliced potatoes, laying them so that they're slightly overlapping. Then take the remaining half of the fennel slices and lay them in an evenly-spaced layer on top of the potatoes. Pour the remaining half of the cashew cream over the fennel and use a spatula to evenly spread it out. And now place the remaining 1/3 of the potato slices on top, and you can follow the overlapping pattern in the images and the video if you want it to look nice (almost like how a sleeve of pepperoni looks when they're laid on top of each other in the package).
Place the pan in the oven and make for 55 minutes to 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender all the way through the layers and the ones on top are nice and golden and crispy around the edges. Brush the top with a bit more olive oil for some shine, and garnish with lemon zest, fennel fronds or fresh herbs, and chopped pistachios and serve. Leftovers keep will covered in the fridge for up to 5 days (it's especially good for brunch with a fried egg on top!)