Roasted Halibut with Wine-Braised Fennel

Adapted from Food and Wine (April 2011)

My love for halibut is never-ending. This dish is clean, simple and so easy. I love the combination of the sweet golden raisins contrasted with the subtle heat of the red pepper flakes. The whole family – picky toddler included – joined in the love fest.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored and cut into 1″ slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds halibut
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the fennel, then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Cover and cook for about 6 minutes. Toss gently, then cook for another 4 to 6 minutes. Fennel should be browned and fragrant. Add 1 cup of white wine, the water, bay leaves and raisins. Turn the heat down to low and allow to simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes, or until most of the wine has evaporated. Discard the bay leaves, taste seasoning and if necessary, sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  • On a baking sheet, place shallot in the center so that fish will cover it completely. Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of white wine. Sprinkle one side of the fish with kosher salt and pepper, then place the seasoned side down on top of the shallots and wine. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the fish, then rub in until evenly distributed. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. Place fish on the top rack of the oven and roast for about 12 minutes, or until just opaque in the center. Remove fish from oven.
  • To serve, place fennel mixture on a platter and lay the halibut on top.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. If you like a bit more heat, use 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. I reduced the amount of red pepper with young, spice-sensitive palates in mind.
  • 2. This flavorful dish even tastes great cold. How do I know that? My husband insisted we eat outside on one of the first beautiful spring nights. The air was lovely and fresh, but dinner was cold in about 2 minutes flat. I still loved this dish.
  • 3. I really like to use fresh fish on the day I buy it. If you are using frozen fish, you will obviously want to defrost it on the day you are using it. If you buy fresh, this will be one of the only instances where I tell you to make a second trip to the store for the week. If the halibut is the only thing you need to pick up, it will be a quick trip, right?

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

2 responses to “Roasted Halibut with Wine-Braised Fennel”

  1. Laura says:

    The fish is amazing, and I love this method. I couldn’t quite bring myself to pay the $25 a pound for the halibut, so I used Snapper. This worked great. I put it skin up, and the shallots were delicious. My family didn’t like the fennel as much as I did, but overall, a great meal. This fish preparation is a keeper! I love this blog.

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