Monkfish with Fennel and Saffron
This fragrant dish always remind me of the South of France, but it makes wonderful use of Sonoma County’s bountiful wild fennel and is wonderful when paired with Inman Family Russian River Valley Pinot Gris. Scallops may be easily substituted for the monkfish.
2 lb. monkfish tail, trimmed and filleted
5-6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tb. fennel seeds, toasted
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 fennel bulb, minced
1/2 cup Pinot Gris
3 large pinches saffron
1 Tb. Pernod
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tb. fennel fronds, finely chopped
Cut the fish into walnut-sized cubes and sauté gently in a heavy frying pan, then add the fennel seeds. Gently stir or toss the seeds for about 2 minutes to release all of the aromas, and then add the minced garlic and fennel. Continue to sauté to seal the fish. Should any moisture be released from the fennel, allow this to evaporate and the fish to slightly brown. Turn the heat down to low and pour in the Pinot Gris and the Pernod, if you wish to intensify the fennel flavors. Crumble the saffron threads into the pan and allow the liquid to bubble. Season with salt and pepper and allow to cook over gentle heat until the fish is tender (6-8 minutes), stirring occasionally. Arrange on preheated plates and garnish with fennel fronds. Serves 6 as a first course. Double the quantities to serve as a main course. Fresh crusty bread should be served with this dish, to soak up the lovely sauce.
Serves 6 as a first course, 3 as a main course