Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a small pan, heat the fennel and milk. Bring to a simmer. Cook for five minutes to partially cook the fennel. Strain and reserve the fennel and one cup of the milk. In another small pan, heat the cream and the garlic over low heat to infuse. Remove from the heat. Add the reserved milk from poaching the fennel and set aside. Thinly slice the potatoes. Rub the bottoms and sides of a 18”x14” casserole dish with the softened butter. Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish, a layer of the poached fennel next, then potato, then fennel, etc. Finish with a layer of potatoes. Season each layer with salt and pepper. Add enough of the cream, garlic and milk mixture to barely cover. Bake for one hour, until golden brown. Serve alongside a roast or grilled steak.
Enjoy with a glass of Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Reserve.