Rockfish Braised with Fennel and Onions
Roasting a whole fish creates an impressive one-pot meal. A scattering of thinly slivered vegetables cook quickly in the same pan. To prepare fennel for cooking, first trim the bulb of any browned bits. Cut off the long stalks and use only the bulb, trimming away the base of the core if it is thick and tough. Halve the bulb crosswise, then cut into thin lengthwise slices. If you can’t find rockfish, red snapper would make a good substitute.
- 3 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced
- 3 celery stalks, sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbs. chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 rockfish, about 2 lb. (1 kg), cleaned
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) dry white wine
Preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, fennel and garlic and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped dill and season with salt and pepper. Transfer two-thirds of the vegetable mixture to an ovenproof baking dish large enough to hold the fish flat.
Lay the fish on top of the vegetables, then scatter the remaining vegetables on top. Warm the fry pan over medium heat and add the white wine. Bring to a simmer and stir to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Simmer for 1 minute, and then pour over the fish and vegetables. Cover the dish with foil.
Bake, basting occasionally with the pan juices, until the fish is opaque throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fish behind the head registers 140°F (60°C), about 30 minutes. Garnish with the dill sprigs and serve directly from the dish. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma One Pot of the Day, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2012)