The Three Fs: Fish and Fennel in Foil

Rachel Tepper Paley
July 16, 2014

Photo credit: Food52 you embark on a summer fishing expedition. On a clear day with excellent fishing conditions, a several-hour-long excursion might yield upwards of a dozen striped bass, bluefish, or, in the case of this editor, porgy.

What to do with such a bounty? If you’re camping, this three-ingredient treatment will do the trick. But if you’re headed home, we suggest giving this more ambitious recipe from Food52 a whirl.

Start by marinating your whole fish in lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro for about ten minutes. Then slather a bit of Dijon mustard in the cavities; the tangy flavor will seep into the flesh as it cooks. Finally, wrap it tightly in tin foil along with some fennel, red onions, and thinly sliced lime. The little silver package bakes in the oven for about an hour, and then your work’s done.

Well, almost. We say sprinkle the final result with the smoky, chili-flecked merquén, because what’s summertime eating without a little spice?

Fish Baked in Foil with Fennel and Lime
from Food52
Serves 4

1 medium whole fish, about 2 1/2 pounds, cleaned and scaled
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
1 fennel bulb
1 large red onion
1 large lime, very thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, in small chunks
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Heat the oven to 325 degrees F. Rinse the fish under cold water and dry well with paper towels.

In a large, wide bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, a few generous pinches of salt and the pepper. Add the fish to the marinade, turning to coat. Set aside for about 10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Halve the fennel bulb and thinly slice one half. Cut the other half into 1/8-inch dice. Do the same with the onion.

Take two pieces of aluminum foil and fold them together so that they form big piece. Lay the foil shiny-side down on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Arrange half of the sliced red onion, sliced fennel and lime along the middle of the foil, over an area roughly the same size as the fish.

Remove the fish from the marinade and slather the cavity with the mustard. Then scatter the butter chunks and the chopped onion and fennel inside the cavity, filling it just enough that it looks plump, without the vegetables spilling out all over the place.

Lay the fish gently on top of the sliced vegetables, and then arrange the rest of them on top of the fish, finishing with a row of lime slices. Start to fold up the foil so that liquid won’t seep out the sides, and then drizzle the marinade over the top of the fish. Fold and crease the foil into a neat package, leaving a little space between it and the fish. Put the fish (on the baking sheet) in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until the fish is cooked through.

For more fish recipes, visit Food52.