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Baked Fish with Fennel, Orange Zest and Perno
1 ts Fennel seeds
3 tb Olive oil
1 lg Yellow onion; thinly slice
2 lg Fennel bulbs (4 c); cored thinly sliced lengthwise
1 tb Grated orange zest
2 c Tomatoes; peel; dice; optl
Salt/freshly ground pepper
4 Cod, flounder or sea bass fillet, about 5-6 oz each
1 c Pernod
Fennel feathers or chopped
Fresh mint for garnish
Place the fennel seeds in a small, dry frying pan over medium-low heat and toast, shaking occasionally, until fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pulverize with a pestle. Alternative, pulverize in a spice grinder.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large saute pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and saute, stirring, until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the sliced fennel and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the ground fennel seeds, orange zest and the tomatoes, if using, and cook for 2 minutes longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Distribute the fennel mixture among 4 individual baking dishes or place in 1 large baking dish. Place the fish fillets atop the fennel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a cup or bowl combine the wine and Pernod and pour over the fish.
Bake until the fish is opaque when tested with a knife, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with fennel feather or mint and serve at once.