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Baked Dorado with Caramelized Fennel and Red Pepper Sauce

Dorado (Tsipoura in Greek, and also known as gilt head fish) is my favourite of the "large" fish. It is quite fleshy, which means it is easier to keep moist, and it is delicious. Fennel is a wonder vegetable, nutrition wise, and in a caramelised form, utterly comforting. And the red pepper sauce is also incredibly nutritious and perfect to bind the whole dish together.

Start with:

  • Fennel, 1 large pc, cut in half

Steam it for 15 minutes. Let it cool and cut it in quarters. In a pan, over medium but steady heat, melt:

  • Butter, 2 tbsp

  • Sugar, 1 tbsp

Once sizzling, add the fennel quarters and caramelise about 8 minutes on each side, mindful of the heat level so as not to burn them. If you feel the pan is drying out worryingly, add some more butter. Turn heat off.

For the sauce, in a small pot add:

  • Red Pepper, de-seeded and roughly chopped, 100 gr

  • Vegetable stock, 150 ml (or other stock, or even plain water)

Boil gently for 20 minutes and puree using a hand blender. Push through a strainer in a clean bowl. Allow to slightly cool before finishing the sauce off.

Now the fish:

  • Dorado, 1 pc, medium sized, about 800 gr, cleaned from intestines, scaled, oiled and salted well.

Stuff the belly with lemon slices (this helps to keep it moist while cooking) and bake in a 180 Celsius oven, for about 30 minutes. Turn oven off, and place fennel in the oven with the fish to warm up, while finishing off the sauce.

To finish the sauce, place the bowl on top of a pot filled with water but not touching it (a technique called a ben marie) and add:

  • Egg Yolks, 2 pcs

Whisk continuously, until the sauce thickens to ribbon consistency, about 10 minutes, take bowl off the pot and add:

  • Butter, cold, 30 gr

Whisk until smooth and adjust seasoning (salt).

Remove skin, and fish fillets from the bone (this should be very easily done with your hand and the help of a spatula). Place each fillet on a plate with two fennel quarters, and pour sauce over.


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