Oven-Roasted Fish With Fennel

Categories: Kidney Yin Vacuity, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Oven-Roasted Fish With Fennel
Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times
Published: June 4, 2010
One of the classic dishes of the French Riviera is sea bass grilled with fennel fronds. That’s the inspiration for this simpler fish preparation. I use firm white fish fillets — those recommended by the Environmental Defense Fund include Pacific cod, Pacific halibut or striped mullet — roasting them in the oven with the fennel stalks trimmed from the bulbs on top. I serve them atop pan-cooked fennel.

2 pounds fennel with fronds still attached (3 medium bulbs)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, preferably a spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as Pacific cod, Pacific halibut or striped mullet

1. Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel, and set them aside. Quarter the bulbs, cut away the cores and slice thin across the grain. You should have about 4 cups sliced fennel. Chop the fronds, and measure out 1 to 2 tablespoons (to taste).

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet, and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about three minutes. Add the fennel and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the fennel mixture is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir together and cover the pan. Turn the heat to low, and continue to cook 5 to 10 more minutes until the mixture is very soft and fragrant. Stir in the chopped fennel fronds, and remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. While the fennel is cooking, preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Oil a baking dish large enough for the fish to fit in a single layer. Season the fish with salt and pepper, and arrange in the baking dish. Cover with the fennel stalks you set aside. Cover the dish tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Bake 15 minutes. Check the fish; if you can cut into it with a fork, it is done (cod will cook more quickly than halibut). If it is still tough in the middle, cover and return to the oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and check again. Remove the fennel stalks from the fish and discard.

4. Place the cooked fennel on a platter or on individual plates, top with the fish fillets and serve.

Yield: Serves four.

Advance preparation: The cooked fennel will keep for two days in the refrigerator.

Nutritional information per serving: 267 calories; 8 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 55 milligrams cholesterol; 20 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams dietary fiber; 226 milligrams sodium (does not include salt added during cooking); 30 grams protein