Fennel and orange are ubiquitous in Sicilian cooking. Here, the fennel is roasted alongside buttery sablefish until tender and served with a sweet-tart orange and toasted almond dressing. Fresh mint is a revelation here, but parsley is a fine substitute.
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 portion sablefish (10 to 12 ounces), cut into 2 pieces
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 large navel orange
- ½ small shallot or small red onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped pitted green Sicilian olives
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped salted roasted almonds
- 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint or parsley
PREP THE FENNEL
Preheat the oven to 425°F with a rack in the center position. Trim the fennel tops, reserving the feathery fronds if possible. Halve the fennel lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch thick wedges, keeping the slices intact at the core.
COOK THE FENNEL AND FISH
In a large oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium high heat until shimmering. Add sablefish, skin side down and press lightly to set the skin, about 10 seconds. Arrange the fennel all around and toss to coat with the oil. Cook just until the fennel begins to brown, about 1 minute.
Season the fish and fennel with salt and pepper and transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast on the center oven rack until the fennel is lightly charred and tender and the fish registers 135° to 140° on an instant read thermometer, 12 to 15 minutes depending on the thickness of the filet.
MAKE THE VINAIGRETTE
While the fish and fennel are cooking, prepare the vinaigrette. Using a sharp knife, trim both ends of the orange so it stands upright. Following the curve, cut away the peel, removing the skin and any bitter white pith. Working over a small bowl, cut between the membranes of the orange, releasing the segments into the bowl. Squeeze the membrane to extract any juice into the bowl. Add the shallot, olives, vinegar, and 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.
FINISH AND SERVE
Transfer the sablefish and fennel to plates. Spoon the orange vinaigrette over all and garnish with almonds, mint, and fennel fronds if desired.
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Pair it Up
To accentuate the flavors of fennel and orange, pour a glass of Chilean sauvignon blanc or a citrus-accented grüner veltliner.
Level it Up
Once you master the technique of segmenting the orange (known as supreming), you can change it up by adding lime and lemon segments to the dressing.
Change it Up
Toss left over fish, fennel, and dressing with peppery arugula for a delightful next-day lunch.
Lighten it Up
Full of vitamin C, fennel and orange are natural immune boosters. The omega-3 fatty acids in sablefish make this dish heart-healthy as well.
Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.
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