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Crispy Fennel-Topped Fish with Garlic and Oil Spaghetti

Crispy Fennel-Topped Fish with Garlic and Oil Spaghetti


For the Crispy Fennel Fish or Chicken:

  • 1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and grated

  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric

  • 1 inch ginger, grated or minced

  • 2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each fennel seeds and pollen

  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for the baking dish

  • Four 6- to 8-ounce filets of thick-cut branzini or any firm white fish or small boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • Salt and pepper

  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley and/or chopped fresh oregano, to serve

  • Lemon wedges or cheeks, to serve

For the Garlic and Oil Spaghetti:

  • ½ cup EVOO

  • 7 or 8 anchovies (it's a natural salt in the dish)

  • 6 or 7 large cloves garlic, grated, chopped or thinly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste or 1 teaspoon chili flakes

  • ½ cup dry vermouth or crisp Tuscan white wine 

  • 1 pound egg spaghetti or spaghetti

  • Salt, for pasta water

  • About ½ pound samphire (optional; see Tip)

  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve


Serves: 4

For the fish or chicken, preheat oven to 425°F, with rack at center. 

Combine fennel with rosemary, zest, turmeric, ginger, garlic and fennel seeds/pollen, then coat with about 2 tablespoons olive oil.  

Season fish or chicken with salt and pepper. Oil a medium baking casserole, add fish or chicken and pack the topping into place evenly over the 4 servings. Bake until crispy and brown (fish should be opaque or chicken plump and cooked through), 15 to 20 minutes. Top with herbs and serve with lemon. 

For the spaghetti, bring a large pot of water to boil. 

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-low heat and melt the anchovies into oil. Add garlic, zest and chili and stir 2 minutes, then add the vermouth or wine and reduce heat to low. 

Cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions in salted water, adding the samphire (if using) the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of cooking time. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and add to sauce. Transfer pasta to sauce and toss with parsley.