Hot-smoked halibut with braised fennel

Tristan Welchs delicious fish is imbued with the smoky, slightly aniseed flavour of wild fennel
By Tristan Welch
Hot-smoked halibut with braised fennel
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 30 g butter
  • 20 g baby fennel, hearts trimmed, washed and well dried
  • 200 ml vegetable stock
  • 32 dried fennel, 8-10cm long
  • 4 x 120-150g g halibut fillets
  • 1 tsp toasted fennel seeds, freshly ground
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ½ bunches dill, leaves finely chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

2. Melt the butter in a hot, ovenproof pan, add the prepared fennel hearts and brown on one side. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then turn them over to brown the other side.

3. Pour in the vegetable stock and transfer the dish to the oven for 8 minutes. While the fennel is braising, prepare the hot-smoked halibut.

4. Put 8 of the dried fennel stalks on the base of each portion of fish. (This is to prevent the halibut from coming into contact with the pan.)

5. Heat a large, heavy-based frying pan with a lid over high heat until it is red hot.

6. Season the fish with sea salt and freshly ground toasted fennel seeds. Put the fillets, fennel-stalks down, into the smoking hot pan, cover with the lid and let the fish hot-smoke for 6-8 minutes.

7. Whisk the oil, vinegar and dill together into a quick dressing and season to taste.

8. To serve, put the smoked portions of halibut on a plate and accompany with the braised fennel and a drizzle of dill dressing.

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