FennelFest 2012

I have to say I love living in Edinburgh. Specifically I love living on this corner of Marchmont in Edinburgh. I walked to Eddie’s Fish shop after work to get my sea bass and crab claws which is around the corner, then had four different green grocers to choose from to get all my in season veg. They are open till 8pm so you can change your mind very late in the evening (and scotmid our local supermarket which is a stones throw away shuts at midnight). Then I wandered down to Peter Greens Wine Shop (the other corner) for a free wine tasting which happens every Friday evening from 5 to 7. Tasted some, bought a bottle of inexpensive but delicious dry white recommended for my dinner. Then I went home and started cooking!

Crispy Sea bass with fennel and lemon beurre blanc and a medley of mushrooms, broadbeans and asparagus

Although there are loads of vegetables in this, the butter evens out the healthiness of this dish. But its super yum – just don’t eat it every day. Tom has been very into fennel recently and its quite an underused herb/bulb.


1 large spanish onion cut in half and sliced into half moons

2 cloves garlic– sliced

Stalks of one bulb fennel- chopped roughly ( keep fronds for later)

a sprinkling of thyme

1 Bay leaf

1 tsp coarse black pepper (or about 15 whirls of the grinder)

1tsp white wine vinegar

150ml dry white wine

100g butter in chilled cubes

A few stalks of aparagus cut into thirds

About 10 broad bean pods, shelled

6 large oyster mushrooms cut into thick slices

Two fillets of sea bream skin on

A plate of flour

Paper towels

Ingredients for Crispy Sea Bass

Ingredients for Crispy Sea Bass- go fresh, go local.

Cook the onion, garlic, fennel, thyme bay leaf and black pepper in 2 tbsp butter until softened but not coloured. Add vinegar and white wine and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for about 10 mins till the liquid is reduced to about 2-3 Tbsp. Gradually add the chilled butter cubes one at a time, till the sauce looks lovely and thick. Keep warm in the pan with a lid on and set aside.

Buerre Blanc

Buerre Blanc- french for “white butter”

Boil the broad beans and asparagus in a pan of water until cooked. Refresh in a bowl of cold water so the greens keep their colour. Scoop a bit of the buttery goodness into a pan and brown the mushrooms in them. Then add the broad beans and asparagus, and scoop up about three quarters of the onion fennel mix, but leaving as much as much runny butter sauce behind as possible. You will probs find that you will have a fair few onions left in the first pan but that’s OK. Discard the bay leaf. Add a dash of lemon juice and salt and pepper to the vegetables to taste.

Crispy Sea Bass

Crispy Sea Bass- with fennely goodness.

Why not do it one pan you ask? Because you want to fry the fish in the first one. So take your fillets of fish, pat dry with a paper towel and coat both sides with flour. Heat up the first mixture again on medium heat and fry the fillets for a few minutes each side in the buttery mix. Remove fish and set aside. Mix the remaining butter sauce used to cook the fish in into the vegetables. Place the vegetables onto a plate in a mound shape and top with the crispy but soft sea bass. Finish with a few fennel fronds . Yum!

What do you do with the rest of the fennel you ask now?

Roasted fennel with balsamic and parmesan


The fennel bulb leftover from above
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Grated parmesan

baking tray and tinfoil

Roasted Fennel

Roasted Fennel- nature’s candy!

Preheat oven to 200 C. Trim the bottom off the bulb, cut in half lengthways, and then into one inch slices longways. Place the fennel bits on tinfoil on the baking tray. Pour over enough olive oil and balsamic to coat. Cook in the oven for eight to ten minutes, then remove sprinkle with parmesan and cook for a further five minutes.

Note: Best served immediately, or at least the parm sprinkling bit should be done just before eating.

Crab Claws with garlic, butter, and chipotle sauce

Serves two

This recipe is a slight variation of the recipe on Eat Like A Girl’s Blog on the internets. Crabs are in season here in Scotland, and when I was buying the fish at Eddies Fish Shop round the corner from our house I had an urge to get some oysters. But then I saw the crabs and changed my mind. And although oysters are always yummy this recipe was super delish!


6 crab claws
50g butter
2 large garlic cloves chopped
1 tsp chipotle sauce or some rehydrated chopped chipotle chillies
100 ml dry white wine

Chipotle Crab Claws

Chipotle Crab Claws- Cor Blimey!

Reduce the white wine by about a third in a hot shallow pan. Add the butter, garlic and chipotle. I used Fox’s Spices Chipotle Chilli Sauce (from the Amazon Basin), which is 73% chilli. When the butter has melted add the crab claws and cook for 6 – 8 minutes over a medium heat until cooked through. Season to taste.

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One thought on “FennelFest 2012

  1. Daria says:

    Butter = glistening happiness.

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