Halibut & Braised Fennel Recipe

Oven-grilled white fish served with orange and fennel-seed yogurt from chef Barton Seaver. "Fennel is a classic flavour pairing with seafood, and in this very simple recipe it really shines through. Only a bit of garlic is added to provide a little punch to offset the sweetness of the fennel."


2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 large fennel bulbs, cut into quarters, with stems trimmed but left intact
1/2 cup water
1 cup white wine
Four 5-oz. portions halibut fillet
2 tbsp plain Greek-style or regular full-fat yogurt
2 tsp fennel seeds, ground
1 tbsp fresh orange juice


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Step 2: Heat a deep-sided ovenproof saucepan over medium heat, then add 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Crush the cloves of garlic with the flat side of a knife and add to the oil. Add the fennel bulbs and sear until they begin to lightly brown. Season generously with salt and add the water and wine. Cover the pan, transfer it to the oven, and roast for 35 minutes. Remove the pan, and set aside, still covered. Leave the oven on.

Step 3: Place the halibut fillets on a baking sheet and season with salt. Transfer the fish to the oven, then turn the oven off. Prop the door open slightly so that the halibut does not cook too quickly. It should take about 15 minutes for a 1″-thick fillet to cook.

Step 4: For the yogurt sauce, combine the yogurt with the remaining tbsp olive oil, the ground fennel seeds, and orange juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and mix well.

Step 5: To serve, divide the braised fennel among 4 serving plates, making sure to spoon over any remaining juices from the pan. Place a halibut fillet next to the fennel and top with a large dollop of the yogurt sauce.

See more recipes from Barton Seaver.

Reprinted with permission from Barton Seaver’s For Cod & Country (2011 Sterling Epicure).