Poached Fish with Tomato and Fennel
Some variation of this dish is common in many areas of the Mediterranean where fish, fresh vegetables and olives are plentiful and simplicity reigns. It is easy to prepare, yet presents a quiet elegance to be savored, whether a weeknight or weekend.
Gentle poaching keeps the fish moist. Enjoy it over any whole grain, couscous, or vegetable “rice”.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced fennel bulb
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme (or ½ teaspoon fresh)
1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes with juice — OR — 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice (no added sugar, low sodium)
1 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine or apple cider (no added sugar)
1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
4 firm white fish fillets (4 – 6 oz each; choose Cod, Hake, Snapper, Halibut, Sole, Flounder, Grouper)
Cooked brown rice, quinoa, other whole grain, couscous, or cauliflower rice – for serving
Chopped parsley or fennel fronds – for garnish
- In a medium-sized sauté pan with sides, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the fennel and carrot, and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes until slightly softened and lightly brown. Add the garlic and thyme and sauté 1 minute more.
- Add the tomatoes, water, wine/apple cider, olives, capers, balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Stir to combine. Simmer uncovered until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Add the fish, cover the pan, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and poach until firm, about 8–10 minutes.
- To plate individual servings – carefully place the fish over a bed of the selected whole grain, couscous, or cauliflower rice. Spoon some of the sauce over each serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or fennel fronds, if desired.
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