Alexandra Guarnaschelli loves to serve raisin-studded braised fennel with a meaty white fish, like halibut, black bass or striped bass. Roasting the large fish fillet whole (rather than in portions) is a great way to serve a small crowd.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 fennel bulbs, cut through the cores into 1-inch-thick wedges
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 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, minced
1 skinless halibut or striped bass fillet
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 450°. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the fennel wedges cut sides down, season with salt and black pepper and sprinkle with the crushed red pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat until the fennel is browned, about 12 minutes, turning the wedges halfway through. Add 1 cup of the wine and the water, bay leaves and raisins and simmer over low heat, turning the wedges a few times, until most of the wine has evaporated and the fennel is tender, about 15 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and season the fennel with salt and black pepper.
Meanwhile, spread the minced shallot in the shape of the fish fillet on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon of wine. Season the skinned side of the fillet with salt and black pepper and set it down on the minced shallot. Rub the top of the fish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast the halibut on the top shelf of the oven for about 12 minutes, until it is barely opaque in the center.
Transfer the halibut, with its cooking juices, to a platter, spoon the braised fennel alongside and serve.
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