This is a favorite recipe from Jamie Oliver, and one which Him Indoors had added to his repertoire a while ago. I don’t know why my husband picks the not-so-direct recipes for when he decides to cook. Such as risottos and then this one above, and excluding the baked beans on toast – excellent as well – which he occasionally produces with a flourish for a weekend lunch 😉  With the risottos, I gather that half the attraction is drinking the wine that’s meant to go into the pan, making the whole process very enjoyable for him, and no doubt, fortifying the reserves of patience he (and anyone) needs to cook a good risotto.

Perhaps this recipe may be of use for anyone leaning fish-wise and looking for ideas over Lent, when many try to abstain from luxury food. Although eating fish is a ‘hardship’ I would enjoy on a daily basis! To be absolutely strict, substitute fish or veg stock or milk for the cream, and eat a very small sliver of the final product (I dare you to stop there though).

Anyway, this pie is perfect for this long drawn-out winter, it’s absolutely delicious and I do many variations of it. The things I don’t change are the fennel and the cream. An aromatic sauce is produced in the making of this and the fennel is just gorgeous.

  • potatoes, 2 large, scrubbed, halved and par-boiled
  • salmon or steelhead trout, arctic char or other red-fleshed fish, 1 side of, in fillets
  • fennel, 1 bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced (keep some of dill-like leaves, chop finely)
  • fennel seeds, 1 heaped tsp
  • onion, 1 large, sliced
  • garlic, a few cloves, smashed
  • cream, 1 cup and a bit
  • parmesan, shaved, 2 cups
  • anchovies, a few fillets, chopped
  • breadcrumbs, 1/2 to 1 cup
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. First, par boil the potatoes till there is some give when you prod them with a knife. When done, drain and set aside
  3. In a pan, pour 2 tablespoons of olive or veg oil, and when it’s warmed up, add the sliced fennel, onions and fennel seeds.
  4. Season a little with salt and pepper and add some of the dill-like finely chopped fennel leaves if you like (don’t leave them long as they may get stringy)
  5. When done, turn the fennel/onion mixture into an oven dish that’s been pre-oiled
  6. Clean the fish, wipe dry, remove skin if needed
  7. At this stage, I deviate from Jamie and I season the fish with salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice and sear one side of it in a hot pan
  8. Next, layer the seared fish on top of the fennel mixture
  9. Slice the potatoes as neatly as possible, skins on, and layer them on top of the fish. Drizzle with oil and season
  10. Finally, spread the cream, parmesan and chopped anchovies (which have been pre-combined in a bowl) over the potatoes
  11. Bake for about 25 minutes, check that the potatoes are tender and the fish done. Sprinkle some parmesan and breadcrumbs over the top and place back in the oven for 5 minutes
  12. Serve with a fresh, green, lemony salad

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