Roasted Redfish with Fennel Confit and Tomato Nage

At Bistro Les Gras in Northampton, Owner and Executive Chef Daniel Martinez offers whole roasted fish. This technique for roasting whole fish is simple and delicious. When buying whole fish, you should purchase about 12 to 16 ounces of whole fish per person. Ask your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish for you. 

For the fish:

1 whole redfish (about 2 pounds), cleaned, gutted, and scaled

2 fennel fronds

½ lemon, thinly sliced

Olive oil 

For the tomato nage:

1 carrot, cut into chunks

1 onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

1 fennel bulb, quartered

3 large tomatoes, diced

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon fennel seed

1 tablespoon coriander seed

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 anchovy (optional)

2 cups white wine

3 cups water

¼ cup white wine vinegar

3 tablespoons butter 

For the fennel confit:

2 fennel bulbs

½ cup olive oil

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 sprig thyme

1 hot red chili (like Thai Bird)

Fresh ginger, julienned 

To make tomato nage:

Put all ingredients except butter in saucepot and bring to simmer. Simmer until broth is reduced by half, about 1 hour. Strain and reserve. You can do this a day ahead.

When ready to serve, bring sauce to boil and reduce by half. Whisk in butter and season with salt and pepper.

To make fennel confit:

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice the fennel crosswise. Add fennel, thyme, garlic, and olive oil to small pot along with a pinch of salt; cover. Place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is soft and sweet but not mushy. Thinly slice chili and add to your liking (we usually add ½ a chili) along with ginger. Season and reserve.

To make the fish:

Preheat oven to 425°.

Score the fish: Make three diagonal slices in the skin on each side and season fish with salt and pepper inside and out.

Stuff with fennel fronds and lemon and rub with oil.

Roast on lightly oiled dish until flesh is white and flaky, about 20–25 minutes.

Serve on a sauced platter and top with fennel confit. This is delicious with simply boiled potatoes and a nice green salad. 

Serves 2