Marinated whiting with baby fennel braise

Marinated whiting with baby fennel braise

Lisa Cohen and William Meppem

Marinating fish, whole or in portions, in olive oil, lemon and garlic is popular all around the Aegean and Mediterranean shores of Turkey. There are few things to beat this approach for simplicity and flavour, although do make sure you use spanking fresh fish.

In this recipe I’ve paired pan-fried fish with a braise of baby fennel, tomatoes and olives – the very essence of the Mediterranean. Adding snipped fennel fronds to the fish marinade imparts a hint of anise that complements the braise beautifully. Use other small fillets of fish, such as garfish, or even strips of salmon or prawns, if you like. For a dinner party you might like to cook a medley of different fish – just make sure they are all a similar size.


Quantity Ingredient
8 x 100-120g whiting fillets
4 baby fennel, long stalks attached
30ml olive oil
1 small purple onion, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon hot paprika
10 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 vine-ripened tomato, skinned, seeded and diced
80ml water
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper


Quantity Ingredient
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 lemon, finel zested
2 tablespoons fennel fronds, chopped
1 tablepoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Add the whiting fillets and turn in the marinade so they are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes, basting from time to time.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Trim the ends of the fennel stalks neatly. Cut each bulb into quarters lengthwise. Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan or small, heavy-based baking tray. Add the fennel, onion, cumin and paprika and sauté over a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add the olives, tomato and water to the pan and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 8–10 minutes or until the fennel is just tender. Return the pan to the stove top and cook on a high heat until the liquid has reduced and you have a thick braise.
  3. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a very high heat. Fry the fish, four pieces at a time, for a minute per side until lightly coloured. Serve immediately on top of the fennel braise.
Middle Eastern
Back to top
    No results found
    No more results
      No results found
      No more results
        No results found
        No more results
          No results found
          No more results
            No results found
            No more results
              No results found
              No more results
              Please start typing to begin your search
              We're sorry but we had trouble running your search. Please try again