16 July, 2009

Sublime combinations: fennel and fish

I tried growing fennel again this year. It bolted last year and again this year in the polytunnel. I have concluded that it is difficult to grow which is what someone told me before I tried last year, so I must remember to listen to more experienced gardeners in future.

Anyhow, this fennel came from a shop. As did the bream and the cherry tomatoes. And what follows is in my opinion one of the best and easiest ways to eat fish. Probably best with something like a bass or bream. The "recipe" uses whole cleaned fish (heads and tails on in my opinion but I guess you can have taken them off if you're squeamish).

Take a roasting tin and drizzle with olive oil. Throw in sliced fennel and cherry tomatoes, plus a couple of pieces of lemon peel and some lemon juice. Toss thoroughly and spread out to create a layer on which to put your fish. You could probably add peppers and/or new potatoes too, though you would have to watch for how long the potatoes need to cook.

Score the outside of your fish c. 3 times on each side and rub some good sea salt in. Stuff the fish with coriander - if you have enough you can also stuff the scoring. Lay the fish on top of your vegetables and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a hottish oven (200-220 degrees centigrade) for 20 minutes or so.


mountainear said...

Sounds delicious, one to try.

I've had no luck with fennel either - unless you count the decorative stuff which goes like a weed here, putting down roots which must reach Australia.

Pak choi is equally disappointing - had imaging lots of oriental stir fries - but it ran to seed and was good only for hen food.

Amanda said...

Mmm, sounds lovely. My dad told me that fennel will bolt if the days are still getting longer as it's growing to maturity. So maybe try sowing it a bit later next year? Mine is growing fine: I sowed the seeds fairly late (mid-late May), as my beds don't dry out 'til then!

Mal's Allotment said...

Tried fennel again this year. It's going great guns here in Edinburgh. I'll take some pics.


Soilman said...

Hi Eliane

I only tried fennel once, but had outrageous success... which I assume was beginner's luck (everyone told me, too, that it was hard).

What I DID do was water it a hell of a lot - almost every day. Which may have been what stopped it bolting. Just a theory.

Soilman said...

PS It's also spectacularly slow growing. Spent ages looking as if it wouldn't grow at all, then a lot longer looking as if it wouldn't grow much. Only in final few weeks did it suddenly explode and produce big bulbs. So perhaps it's too early to despair?

Mal's Allotment said...

I've posted some pics now.

Has anyone ever followed the advice to mound earth around fennel to blanche it? I suspect that was written by someone who hadn't grown it, but I'm willing to be persuaded. I wouldn't fancy trying to clean it up for the pot.