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FILL a small pan with water and salt and bring to a boil. REMOVE the greens parts and the hard middle part of the fennel bulb and clean the outer leaves if needed. CHOP the fennel in quite small pieces and cook them for a few minutes.
PRE-HEAT the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. DRAIN the fennel pieces and let them cool off slightly. COAT the oven dish with butter.
COMBINE eggs, creme fraiche, cream, anise liquor, and a handful of grated cheese in the large bowl until you've reached a smooth mixture. Add the fennel pieces and season with pepper and salt.
POUR the mixture into the prepared oven dish and top it off with the rest of the cheese. BAKE the fennel gratin in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is beautifully golden brown.
We enjoyed this lovely gratin as a side dish with a piece of fish. You can also use smaller oven dishes to create individual gratins. Enjoy!