Halibut with Braised Fennel
English chef Michael Caines inspired this dish, flavored with an infusion of lemongrass, ginger, and orange peel.
Yield: serves 4
FOR THE INFUSED OIL:
- Peel of 1 orange, cut into large strips
- 3 whole stalks lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
- 1 (3") piece ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 bulb fennel, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE FISH:
- 2 lb. small fennel, trimmed and thickly sliced lengthwise
- 4 (6-oz.) halibut filets, with skin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced
- For the infused oil: Combine orange peel, lemongrass, ginger, chopped fennel, and oil in a small pan; bring to a near boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, cover, and steep overnight. Strain and reserve oil.
- For the fish: Cook sliced fennel in 2 tbsp. infused oil in a skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes per side. Lower heat, add ½ cup water, cover, and simmer till very tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from pan; set aside.
- Season fish with salt and pepper. In the same skillet, heat 3 tbsp. infused oil over high heat and sear fish, 2 minutes per side. Lower heat to medium, cover, and cook until fish is firm, about 7 minutes. Serve fish over fennel, drizzled with remaining infused oil, and garnished with basil, thyme, and tomato.