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Recipe: Braised Scrod with Oranges on Fennel Purée

This scrod is elegant and impressive, but simple to make. Orange-scented fish stock with a splash of dry vermouth is spooned over the meaty fillets to braise them. At the same time, the bed of sliced fennel and onions becomes tender enough to purée. The liquid is reduced, orange segments are added, and it’s ready to enjoy. Any mild, thick, firm fish fillet can be substituted.

Ingredients

Serves
4
  • 1 1/2 ounces Fumet de Poisson Gold®
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 1/2 pounds thickest part of scrod fillets, blotted dry
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large bulb fennel, trimmed, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced (chop the fronds and reserve them for a garnish)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons green peppercorns in brine, drained and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
 

Methods/steps

  1. In a small saucepan, dissolve the Fumet de Poisson Gold® in the orange juice over low heat.
  2. With a sharp paring knife, remove the peel and pith from orange. Remove the orange segments by slicing along the membranes on both sides; set them aside in a bowl.
  3. Dust the scrod with flour on the side without skin and season it with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly brown the fish on the floured side, then remove it to a plate.
  4. Add the remaining oil, the fennel, and the onion. Sauté the vegetables briefly until they are lightly browned. Stir in the vermouth, peppercorns, and fennel seeds, and boil until the liquid evaporates.
  5. Return the fish to the pan, browned side up. Pour in the fumet-orange juice mixture and simmer until the fish is almost opaque in the center, about 6 to 8 minutes, constantly spooning the liquid over it.
  6. Transfer the fish to a plate, tent it with foil, and keep it warm. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fennel, onion and seasonings to an electric blender and purée them with the remaining butter until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Meanwhile, reduce the pan juices by half and add the orange segments.
  8. Divide the fennel purée among 4 dinner plates. Place a piece of fish on top of the purée on each plate, add some orange segments, and spoon on the sauce. Sprinkle on some chopped fennel fronds and serve.

Additional Tips

Wine Pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or a dry sparkling wine.

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Classic French Stocks and Sauces