Fish fillets with fennel and tomato sauce

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Makes 4 servings

Prepare this dish with your favorite white fish. For an alternative, serve this sauce over other fish fillets or with grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

1 fresh fennel bulb (about 1 pound)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

One 1-inch strip of orange rind

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

¼ cup anise-flavored liqueur, such as Pernod

1 cup peeled and seeded chopped tomato

2 tablespoons butter

Dash of salt

Dash of freshly ground pepper

1 ½ pounds fish fillets

1 small yellow bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice

Snipped fresh chives for garnish


Discard the feathery green tops of the fennel; core the bulb and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel, garlic, orange rind, fennel seeds, and liqueur. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cover and check the liquid in the pan. If there is a good deal remaining, cook uncovered until the mixture looks syrupy.

Remove the pan from the heat. Remove and discard the orange rind. Stir in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.

Season the fish with salt and pepper. Place, skin side down, in a generously buttered baking dish large enough to accommodate the fish in a single layer. Spoon the cooled sauce over the fish. Cover with foil and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Remove the fish from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the center of the fish is opaque and no longer translucent. Serve garnished with bell pepper and chives.

Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.