Cut tomatoes into ½ cm thick slices. If they’re very juicy, layer the slices into a colander, sprinkle salt and drain for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 170° C. Trim fennel bulbs and halve lengthwise through the core, and thinly slice each half. Steam fennel for 8 to 10 minutes or until tender.
In a bowl, toss together steamed fennel, crème fraiche, olive tapenade, half of the thyme leaves and parmesan; season with salt and pepper.
Grease the bottom of a small baking or gratin dish. Spread fennel mixture at the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange the tomato slices over the fennel in overlapping rows. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and thyme leaves.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, uncovered until the cheese starts to brown and the gratin is bubbling. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
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