Crispy skin, succulent, meaty fish. Sweet, caramelised, juicy fennel. Plump, ripe, roasted tomatoes. Two, joyous, happy campers.
Prep time: 20 mins Cooking time: 30 mins $ Medium Budget
3tbs of olive oil
40gm of butter
2 x 200gm spanish mackerel fillets, skin on and skin side lightly scored
1 packet of baby truss tomatoes
1 large fennel bulb, halved and then cut into 8 wedges
1 cup of dry white wine
1 tbs of good quality (4 leaf) balsamic vinegar*
1/2 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1/4 tsp of sugar
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tbs of dill, finely chopped
1 tbs of parsley, finely chopped
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and cracked pepper
Lemon wedges to serve
Pre heat the oven to 180°C
Heat a large fry pan and add the butter and 2 tbs of oil. Make sure it is nice and hot and then fry the fennel wedges on all sides until lovely and golden. Add the sugar, this will help with the caramelisation. When lovely and brown add the balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. This will deglaze the pan. be careful stirring too much as you want the fennel to stay in nice wedges. Pour in the wine, stir gently to combine, turn the heat to low and pop a lid on tight. Allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes until tender. Remove the lid and simmer until the liquid is reduced and more like a glaze.
While the fennel is braising, place the tomatoes on a lined baking tray, keeping them on the truss. Drizzle with some extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Heat a medium sized frypan. Rub the fish with the remaining olive oil and season. Fry, skin side down for approximately 4 minutes (it really depends on the thickness of the fish) , flip and cook for the same amount of time on the skin side. To check whether it is cooked just gently pull the centre apart with a fork. If it comes apart easily it is done. If not pop it in the oven for 5 minutes or continue to cook it stove top and it will be fine.
To serve, divide the fennel wedges between the two plates. Top with the fish fillets, skin side up to show the nice crisp skin. Cut the tomato truss into two and top each piece of fish with them. Sprinkle the herbs into the fennel juices and stir. Drizzle the glaze and some Extra virgin olive oil over the top of the tomatoes and fish and serve with extra lemon wedges. Absolutely stunning with a nice aged Riesling……
*Mazetti brand 4 leaf balsamic can be found in most supermarkets. It is much nicer than the average and well worth having in the pantry!