12 Nov 2012

Oven-grilled Lemon Sole with Caramelized Fennel and Salsa Verde

I am constantly seeking new ways to  cook fish. Although, most of the time I end up cooking the fish in the most simple way possible, in order for it to properly shine. That is usually the case when it comes to fish - you deal with it as little as you can, and it will automatically stand out in the dish. But this is of course dependent on the kind of produce you have, and freshness is of the essence here. And as I have mentioned numerous times in my blog, the accessibility of fresh fish quite an arbitrary matter. For an Icelander, though, this issue does not really present itself. Despite all of this I have made contact with a company in Malmö called Galleri fisk, which sells frozen Icelandic fish, and it has proven to be very resourceful when it comes to my need for quality fish! I have bought cod there, along with ling and now, lemon sole. And it was very accessible - order online and home delivered. 

Lately I have been most enthusiastic about grilling the fish in the oven; penciling it lightly with butter or oil, and placing it in a blazing hot oven. The diversity has then revolved more around the side dishes.

It's been a while since I made caramelized fennel - but, much like onion, fennel feels best in a butter bath at a low temperature, for around 30-45 minutes. It will be elevated to the seventh heaven.  

Salsa verde is an ancient sauce. It is believed that it has its roots in the Mid East, and traveled with Roman soldiers to Rome around 2000 years ago. Consequently, it spread around Europe and underwent a myriad of alterations. The recipe I drew upon can be traced back to Italy

Oven-grilled Lemon Sole with Caramelized Fennel and Salsa Verde

Step one, cut the fennel into slices. Place a little butter on a pan along with a nip of oil. When the butter has melted, and the bubbling on the pan has silenced, you add the fennel. Season and fry on low temperature for around 30 minutes - up to 45 minutes. Remember to stir regularly and make sure the fennel does not brown. 

Next is the salsa verde, which really profits from resting for a short moment and settling, so that the ingredients are able to mix and mingle, and in that way, establish a harmony of flavors.  

It is difficult to fully disclose a recipe of salsa verde, since its composition is usually relative set and setting, and what is available - but mine was something along the lines of the following: Half a white onion, two cloves of garlic, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, two tablespoons of capers, five anchovies, two tablespoons of red wine vinegar, handful of parsely, salt and pepper, and then a splash of extra virgin olive oil, until you achieve the correct thickness. 

Then you need to taste, season, more vinegar, maybe a touch of sweetness is needed, until the flavor arrives at something to one's liking. 

The paste is poured into a bowl and then placed in the fridge until the main dish is served.

The lemon sole had been allowed to calmly defrost in the fridge. I spread a sheet of aluminium on the bottom of an oven tray and then penciled the fish the butter/oil from the fennel. And, of course, season!

The oven was heated to the maximum with the grill turned on. I then slid the oven tray into the oven and the fish was ready in seven minutes. It is imperative to not leave it in their for too long.

Cloudy Bay Chardonnay
We enjoyed this lovely wine from New Zealand with the food. Cloudy Bay Sauvignion Blanc from 2009. It is truly a flavorful wine. Beautifully lemony in the glass. Light and tasty wine - fruity with fresh and light oaky aftertaste. I certainly do not regret investing in this bottle!

With the food we served new almond potatoes and then tomatoes which I had cut an a "creative" way, which I then flavored with a little oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and finely cut fresh basil.

The food was absolutely delicious!

Bon appetit!


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