Braised Fish with Fennel and Swiss Chard

This is an unusual but absolutely delicious recipe passed on to me by my cousin’s wife. I’m afraid I can’t give credit to the original recipe writer because I don’t know where she got the recipe, but it’s a very easy way to cook fish if you’re not familiar with doing so. I don’t usually keep white wine in the house, but you can buy a bottle especially for this recipe and drink the rest of it (or part of the rest of it) with the meal.

Serves 2. To serve more, simply add another piece of fish for each additional person, as there is plenty of braising liquid leftover.

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, halved, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise, plus a few fennel fronds for serving
  • 1 14.5-0z can diced tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 4 thin lemon slices*
  • 3 cups of baby Swiss chard or torn Swiss chard leaves
  • 2 4-ounce skinless filets from white fish such as grouper, halibut, sea bass, or snapper**
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Sourdough or cornbread for serving

Directions:

  1. Pour oil, wine, and water into a skillet, then add fennel, tomatoes, garlic, and lemon. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then simmer over medium heat until fennel softens, about 10 minutes.
  2. Salt and pepper both sides of fish, then partially submerge in cooking liquid. Cover and simmer 6 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat, add Swiss chard, cover, and let sit for 2–3 minutes. The fish will continue to cook during this time.
  4. Spoon braising sauce into a pasta bowl, add Swiss chard, top with fish, and sprinkle with fennel fronds. Serve with sourdough or cornbread for dipping.

*Yes, you can eat the lemon slices; they are delicious as long as they are sliced very thinly and from the middle of the lemon rather than the ends where the rind is thicker.

**I used amberjack because it is waaaay cheaper but still a meaty fish. You can also use tilapia or mahimahi. Ask the person selling you the fish to give you filets about the same size and thickness, as this will help the fish cook evenly. One and a half inches thick is ideal.