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Cape Shark In Essence Of Fennel

12 ounces cape shark (dogfish) -- cut into four 3-oz portions
1 fennel bulb with green leaves and stems attached
2 cups homemade chicken broth (or one 14 1/2-oz can chicken broth)
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup heavy cream
1 carrot -- for garnish

Divide cape shark into serving-size portions, discarding any remaining bony-looking cartilage. For appearance sake, thin red edges (which are edible) may also be trimmed.

Rinse fennel and cut off leaves and stems near top of bulb. Slice bulb into 1/2-inch thick cross-sections and set aside. Reserving leaves for garnish, coarsely chop remaining bulb, leaves and stems to yield approximately 1/2 cup.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat chicken broth, chopped fennel and garlic until boiling. Reduce heat to simmer, add fish, cover and poach gently (liquid should just "quiver") for 10 minutes or until flesh is opaque and white.

Using tongs or slotted metal spatula, carefully transfer cape shark from hot liquid to heatproof dish; keep warm. Stir cream into poaching liquid, raise heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sauce is reduced by about one-half (should have consistency of syrup).

While liquid is reducing, heat oil in large skillet. Sauté fennel slices, turning once, until tender-crisp (15 to 20 minutes). Divide fennel slices among four dinner plates; top with cape shark. When sauce is reduced, strain and pour over fish. Garnish each plate with festive "flowers" crafted from the fresh carrot.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

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