Roasted Branzino with Fennel and Leek Fondue
4 Branzino, scaled, heads removed, gutted, cut “book” style
For the fondue:
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large fennel or 2 small fennel bulbs, cut into thin strips
2 leeks, washed well, light green and white ends cut into thin strips
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced as thin as possible
1 cup dry white wine
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 lemons sliced thin
Preheat oven to 400˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Prepare the fondue: heat the butter in a large saute pan until foaming. Add the fennel, garlic and leeks and cook until it begins to soften and caramelize a little, about 6-8 minutes. Add the wine and allow to evaporate. Add the lemon zest and season with the salt and pepper. Let the fondue cool to room temperature and then fold-in the creme fraiche.
To prepare the fish: open the fillet and fill each fish with a quarter of the fondue. Close the fish and use butchers twine to tie the fish at the top and bottom to keep the fillets secure. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Lay the rosemary and thyme sprigs on the fillets and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 10-12 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and easily flakes off with a fork.