This dish is an example of how just a few ingredients, cooked from scratch can make a quick and satisfying meal. I love pairing fennel with fish, and the lemon flavoured rice makes for a perfect match. This dish is very similar to my recipe for baked cod in a wasabi crust with braised fennel, but much simpler. The lemon rice is very straightforward and the pan-seared fennel takes about 5 minutes to make. The cod is cooked exactly the same way as the fennel and you can even use the same pan twice to cut down on clean up.
For the lemon rice I use arborio, which is the kind of rice used to make risotto. It's a very starchy rice, and when cooked right it has a very creamy texture. Japanese sushi rice would also work really well for this recipe.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
2 filets of cod
1 cup arborio rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tbs lemon zest
3 tbs lemon juice
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel
3 tbs olive oil
3 tbs butter
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1. Heat 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter in a pot and sweat the onions on medium heat until the are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute, then add the rice. Add half the chicken stock, stir occasionally until it comes to a simmer, and then add the remaining chicken stock. Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender - about 10 minutes. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice & chives. Season with salt & pepper. If the rice becomes too dry before it is fully cooked, add a little water to keep it from sticking to the pot.
2. While the rice is cooking, make the pan-seared fennel. Slice the fennel 1/4 inch thick (about 1/2 cm). Heat 1 tbs olive oil and 1 tbs butter in a large frying pan. Season the fennel slices with salt and pepper and then lay them down in the pan without any overlap. Fry the fennel on medium-high heat until they are browned on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the fennel and continue cooking until they are soft, about 2 more minutes.
3. Once the fennel is cooked, set it aside in a warm place and use the same frying pan to cook the fish. Once again heat 1 tbs olive oil with 1 tbs butter. Season the fish with salt & pepper and then fry on medium-high heat until the fish is browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the fish and continue cooking until the filets just start to break apart at the touch of a fork, about 2 to 6 minutes depending on thickness.
4. Serve over a mound of rice with a few slices of seared fennel. Garnish with extra chives.
Derek Bocking is a professional chef with over 15 years culinary experience. On his blog, Derek's Kitchen, he shares restaurant-style recipes for amateur gourmets to try at home, from quick and easy meals to more elaborate showstoppers.
by Derek Bocking