CRISPY SKIN FISH FILLET WITH BRAISED FENNEL

INGREDIENTS:

2 pieces of fish (I used Blue Eye) approx. 250g – 8oz each

1 whole fennel

1 or 2 shallots

¼ cup pine nuts

1 ½ cups of dry white wine

1 ripe peeled tomato (see how to peel)

30g butter

Some olive oil

10 Kalamata olives (cut in half lengthwise, pips removed)

2 tbs of drained capers

DIRECTIONS:
  1. Wash and peel outer layer of fennel.
  2. Cut the tops off and the bottom root part.
  3. Cut in quarters from top to bottom (like an apple).
  4. Place fennel pieces in an oven proof dish. (centre part facing up)
  5. Drizzle some olive oil over fennel, just enough to coat evenly.
  6. Add one peeled shallot, cup into four pieces. (or separate cloves)
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Add 1 cup of dry white wine.
  9. Place in preheated oven at 160ºC or 320ºF and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, baste inside fennel layers, flip fennel pieces over, cover with foil and return to oven for another 40 minutes at 180ºC 350ºF (check that they are cooked by poking a knife through, they should be very tender, otherwise cook a little longer).
  11. Dice the tomato into small cubes, keep aside.
  12. Add the pine nuts to a hot pan a dry toast until slightly golden. (do not over cook they turn black vey quickly). Keep aside.
  13. Run your finger along the fish for any pin bones, once you locate one, apply slight pressure on the flesh next to the tip and remove it using large tweezers or needle nose pliers.  This step is optional but well worth the effort.
  14. Hold the fish firmly slightly rolling it up and cut shallow incisions through the skin.
  15. Dust with plain flour and place in hot frying pan with olive oil skin side down.  (enough oil to shallow fry) cook for approx five minutes.  This will vary on the thickness of your fish. Use low to moderate heat.
  16. Season fish with salt and pepper.
  17. Remove fennel from oven, turn each piece over and let them rest in hot oven dish.
  18. By now your fish should have cooked 5 minutes making the skin crispy, gently flip them over and cook for another three minutes.
  19. Preheat your plates in oven and place two pieces of fennel on each plate facing upwards.
  20. Add two pieces of the shallot per plate.  Use any other bits that may have fallen apart.
  21. Gently place your fish skin side up balancing on both pieces of fennel.  leave to rest in warm area.
  22. Drain the juices from the fennel dish back into the frying pan you used to cook the fish in.  Both contain great flavours.  Turn on the heat to moderate.
  23. Add the capers.
  24. Add the olives.
  25. Add the tomato.
  26. Add  ½ cup of white wine.
  27. Let reduce until there’s only a little liquid left.
  28. Add the butter, mix well and pour on plate around the fish (not on top).
  29. Garnish with a little bit of fennel foliage if any.

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