Pan Roasted Hapuka with Braised Fennel And Olives

, from Issue #35. August, 2015
Photography by Carolyn Robertson.
Pan Roasted Hapuka with Braised Fennel And Olives

Serves: 4


6 fennel bulbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100 ml white wine
200 ml chicken stock
100 grams pitted black olives, halved
4 x 200 gram fillets hapuka or kingfish
1-2 tablespoons butter
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve
fennel fronds
flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Trim any fronds from the fennel and set aside for garnishing. Remove the tough outer layer and stalks from each bulb then chop into quarters.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the fennel and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Stir in the garlic then add the wine and stock.

Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes over low heat or until the fennel is very soft (it should be almost falling apart) then stir in the olives.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

In another heavy-based ovenproof pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter until sizzling. Lightly season the fish and place, top side down, in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes over high heat until golden. Cook the fish in batches if need be. Turn the fish and immediately transfer the pan to the hot oven for a further 3-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish. The fish should be just cooked.

To serve: Spoon a little of the cooked fennel into the centre of each warm plate then place the fish on top, golden side up. Sprinkle over chopped fennel fronds and flat-leaf parsley and serve immediately.