Baked Fish Steaks with Fennel, Potatoes and Saffron

, from Issue #18. September, 2015
Photography by Damien Van Der Vlist.
Baked Fish Steaks with Fennel, Potatoes and Saffron

Serves: 4


4 fish steaks, eg hapuka
800 grams waxy potatoes, sliced 1 cm thick
pinch saffron, toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil
knob of butter
2 onions, sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
1 fennel bulb, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
zest and juice of 1 orange
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup vermouth, Pernod or Pastis
1 cup green olives
1-2 cups fish or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons boiling water.

Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan. Season the fish and sear on both sides until golden. The fish will be raw in the centre. Remove and set aside.

Add the onion, celery, fennel, garlic, bay leaves, fennel seeds, orange zest and season well.

Cover and sauté until the vegetables are soft. Uncover and increase the heat. Add the saffron with its soaking liquid and the vermouth and cook until it evaporates. Add the potatoes and turn gently to combine.

Divide between individual oven-proof casserole dishes or one large baking dish. Combine the orange juice and stock and pour over the vegetables. Place the fish and olives on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and season.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the fish is just cooked. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish steaks