Friday, January 21, 2011

Fish with Fennel Puree and Warm Pine-Nut Vinaigrette

We had the pleasure of dining with my nephew and his girlfriend tonight (who I think we've successfully convinced to go paleo) so I wanted to make a memorable meal. I came across this recipe in the recent issue of Food and Wine and couldn't wait to give it a try. I switched a few things up a bit from the original recipe and it was awesome! The fennel puree really steals the show so don't think about skipping it...

Adapted from

Serves 4.

2 medium fennel bulbs, cut into thin wedges
6 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dried gourmet mushrooms (about 1/4 ounce)
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 Tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
4 whitefish or trout fillets with the skin on and pin bones removed
2 ounces mixed salad greens

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place fennel and 5 cloves garlic on a 12-inch square piece of foil and drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil.  Fold the edges to seal the pack and roast for about 45 minutes or until sizzling and very tender. Cool slightly, transfer to food processor, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
    NOTE: This step can be done well in advance and re-warmed prior to serving.
  3. In the meantime, reconstitute the dried mushrooms in the boiling water by soaking them for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet. Add pine nuts and 1 clove garlic and saute over medium heat until nuts are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the mushroom water by pouring the mushroom mixture through a strainer over the skillet. (Reserve the mushrooms to mix in with your eggs in the morning.) Add balsamic vinegar and simmer over medium heat until liquid is reduced to about 2 Tbsp, about 5 minutes. Discard the garlic. Add 2 Tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil over medium high heat in a large skillet or stovetop griddle.
  6. Season fish with salt and pepper. Add fillets, skin side down, pressing with a spatula to flatten. Cook until skin is browned and almost cooked through, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook an additional 30 seconds or until fish is completely cooked through.
    NOTE: The skin was falling off of my fish at this point so I just removed it before plating.
  7. To serve, spoon a large dollop of fennel puree on the bottom of each plate. Top with fish and drizzle with half of the dressing. Add greens across the top and drizzle with remaining dressing.

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