Baked Striped Bass with Fennel and Pernod
At New York City's Le Pescadou, we were served this version of a classic Provençal dish. This is our adaptation.
4 whole farm-raised striped bass, 1 1⁄2 lbs. each,
cleaned and scaled
1 bulb fennel, trimmed and very thinly sliced
1 tbsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. coarse salt
Freshly ground white pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup Pernod, warmed
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Place fish on a lightly oiled sheet pan and score diagonally on each side with 4 evenly spaced slits, about 2 1⁄2" long and 1⁄2" deep. Gently tuck a piece of fennel in each opening. Sprinkle fennel seeds, salt, and pepper inside and all over each fish.
2. Brush each fish with olive oil and bake until flesh is firm, about 5 minutes. Place under broiler until skin is crispy, about 2 minutes. Remove from oven and quickly transfer fish to individual plates or a large platter. While fish is still hot, pour 2 tbsp. of warmed Pernod on each fish, hold plate away from your body, and carefully ignite. Serve flaming.