The Occasion: This dish works well as a planned-ahead, sit-down dinner with family or friends. It takes a little time and work to prepare – nothing difficult, it just requires the cook to make a small commitment beyond ‘turn on the oven and go’. I’m here to say, that commitment is worth it. Delicious roasted veggies, especially fennel, make a savory base for the tasty baked fish.
1) Sliced potatoes and fennel are roasted until tender and almost melting. Wow, so good!
And 2) The flavored bread crumb mixture that gets sprinkled on top turns crispy-golden during baking. The end result is so much more than the sum of its parts!
The Playlist: You may or may not be surprised to learn that there aren’t very many songs about fennel. (I see this as a niche opportunity for an enterprising young musician.) However we do have a blockbuster from Wanda Jackson – one of the O.G. rockabilly singers – called Funnel of Love. Let’s run with that one. Hit the Play arrow and enjoy.
Click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
Recipe Source: The Stray Cat Fishing Charters, adapted by Hooked on Fish
- 1½ lbs walleye
- 3 cloves garlic, divided
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 6 potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 14-ounce can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, juice reserved
- ¼ cup water
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 3 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Combine 1½ tablespoons oil, 2 cloves garlic minced, fennel, and onion in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar size) baking dish and toss to coat. Roast uncovered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes.
- Add potatoes, tomatoes and their juice, water, ¾ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cover tightly with foil and bake until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes more.
- Meanwhile, mince the remaining garlic clove and place in a small bowl. Add breadcrumbs, fennel seeds, lemon zest, the remaining ½ tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt; season with pepper. Mix with your fingers until blended.
- When the potatoes are tender, place fish on top of the vegetables and sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over all. Roast, uncovered, until the fish is opaque in the center and the breadcrumbs are browned, 10 to 15 minutes.