Potatoes, fennel, lemon, garlic, olives, a mild, flaky white fish, and greens — it’s pretty much my dream dinner. Ultra-thin slices of potatoes and fennel turn tender and silky in their bath of white wine and olive oil, the fish turns out perfectly tender and sweet, and the top layer of lemon slices browns around the edges becoming crisp and fragrant — like lemon chips — too good to leave on the plate, trust me!
This is a classic, super-balanced, Mediterranean-inspired meal that I’ve made in countless iterations over the years, and it feels good to finally commit a recipe to paper…or I guess to pixels would be more accurate.
For the fish, I always start with a bed of thinly sliced potatoes and fennel, shallot or onion, and garlic. This roasts until the potatoes begin to brown around the edges, and then I add lemon slices and a seasoned filet of fish (wild hake, wild cod, and halibut are favorites), more lemon slices, and a drizzle of olive oil.
When the fish is about two-thirds done I add a nice pour of dry white wine for the latter part of roasting, which fills the kitchen with wonderful aromas and helps bring together all of those wonderful flavors. This time I also threw in a handful of kalamata olives for a touch of brininess to complement the sweet, mild fish, savory potatoes, and herbaceous fennel.
As for the accompanying greens, I tend to rotate through sautéed kale, chard, escarole, broccoli, or just a simple raw green salad. But peppery, bitter, succulent broccoli rabe is my favorite and that’s what I did this time around. I trim the bottoms and peel the stalks so the rabe is less stringy (I just started doing this recently — it really makes a difference). Then I blanch the greens in salted boiling water, drain, and finish in a skillet with olive oil, garlic and chile flakes so the rabe can absorb all of their wonderful flavors.
Trimming and blanching the broccoli rabe ahead of time, in addition to using a mandolin to thinly slice the vegetables and lemon, help to make this a weeknight-friendly meal. But I love that it’s also special enough for the weekend or for a festive gathering. Just scale up the size of your fish fillet, the amounts of vegetables, and the size of your roasting dish.
Roasted hake with potatoes, fennel, white wine and chile-garlic broccoli rabe
Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free
Serves 2 to 3
for the broccoli rabe:
1 small bunch of broccoli rabe (about 1/2 pound), washed and trimmed
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
pinch of red chile flakes
for the hake and potatoes:
2 yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thinly (I like to use the mandolin to create paper-thin slices)
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 large shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup; divided)
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
olive oil, as needed
Celtic salt and black pepper, as needed
1 lemon, half thinly sliced and half cut into wedges for serving
3/4 pound hake fillet (or another mild, white fish, such as cod or halibut)
pinch of red chile flakes
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup kalamata olives
for garnish : chopped fresh parsley and sliced chives
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt generously. Blanch broccoli rabe for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
In a large baking dish combine potato, fennel, half of the shallot, garlic, and thyme. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Toss to coat vegetables then arrange mixture in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes.
Season hake on both sides with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Remove potato mixture from oven. Place a few lemon slices on top. Place hake in the center of the baking dish on top of the potato fennel mixture, and top with remaining shallot, lemon slices, and a pinch of red chile flakes. Drizzle olive oil over the top. Roast for 15 minutes.
Remove fish from oven and add wine and olives. Return to oven and cook until fish flakes easily and is opaque in the center, another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and red chile flakes. Saute for 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe, toss to coat with olive oil and spices, and cook until heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve fish and potatoes garnished with parsley and chives, accompanied by lemon wedges and broccoli rabe.