If I’m ever looking to make a crowd pleaser that won’t take me hours of work to whip up, this meal is definitely at the very top of my list. It’s a seafood dish that even your non-seafood loving friends will enjoy.
The sweet, mineral flavor of the coconut clam broth mixed with the caramelized onions is decadent in its own right, but throw on the crispy, earthy fish and you’re going to be stuffing this into your face faster than it takes to pour your glass of wine.
I recommend serving this with some fresh baked crusty bread to sop up all the delicious leftovers once you’ve devoured all of the fish. The fennel gives the dish a nice brightness that really rounds out all of the flavors. You can serve it as a whole sprig on top (see below) or mince it up and sprinkle it on top of the fish right before serving.
I adapted this recipe from Bon Appetit.
Serves 4 people.
- 4 snapper fillets
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 large bulb fennel
- 1 king oyster mushroom
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup clam juice
- 1 can coconut cream
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 4 tsp olive oil + more for drizzling
- salt and white pepper to taste
- a few sprigs of fennel frond
Kitchen Tools: saucepan + lid, non-stick saute pan, fish spatula
Take your half an onion and slice into strips (they should look like little white rainbows). Peel your garlic cloves, remove the brown tip and thinly slice. Cut stems off of fennel bulb, core and slice into thin strips (reserve fennel frond for plating). Cut your king oyster mushroom into quarters and then into thin strips.
Chop up your fennel seeds. In a small bowl combine fennel seed, cumin, pepper, and a large pinch of salt. Pat dry your fish and slather the spice mixture onto skin side of fillets. Sprinkle with a large pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge while you make your stock.
In your saucepan heat up 1 tsp of olive oil on medium-low heat. Gently saute your onions and fennel until they begin to soften, about 10-12 minutes. Add your garlic and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure nothing starts to brown or burn.
Add chicken stock, clam juice, and mushroom slices. Cook on medium heat until liquid reduces by half.
Shake your can of coconut cream and pour it into your stockpot. Sprinkle with salt and white pepper to taste, stirring to combine. Lower heat to just above a simmer and place the lid on. Leave simmering while you cook your fish.
In a saute pan, heat up the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil on medium-high heat. Pat dry fish skin with paper towel. Place fish skin side down and sear for 6-8 minutes until skin is crispy. Flip it over and sear for about 30 seconds on the flesh side, then take off the heat.
Place a small pile of the softened onions, fennel, and mushrooms into the middle of a shallow bowl and pour in enough stock to just barely cover them. Balance the seared fish on top of the onions skin side up and garnish with fennel fronds and flowers if you have them.
Tips + Tricks:
*While your fish is searing skin side down, try not to touch or move it until the time is up. The skin will release from the pan once it has reached the perfect amount of crispiness. Any movement you do before that might tear the skin or break apart the fish.
*Patting dry your fish skin right before searing will ensure that you get the crispiest skin possible.