So this was more effort than my usual meal since I actually had to make this broth before I could poach the cod, but it was so worth it. The fennel broth imparted a delicate hint of fennel, nothing overpowering and cod needs something light and delicate. It was delicious. Good thing, too, as the first time, I forgot to take the picture. So I made it for lunch the next day and took pictures but forgot to make sure they were in focus. So, 2 days later for my third meal, I finally got the pictures. While this makes one serving, the broth is usable multiple times if you strain it after using it. It should be good for four days or you can freeze it and use it to poach chicken, fish, or vegetables.
So first you make the broth. This took a little over an hour.
Sauté onion, celery, carrot and fennel until they change color.
Start with 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot, 1/2 yellow onion and half the stalks and fronds from a fennel bulb. Clean and chop into thin slices.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan to medium, add the veggies and stir. Cook until they change color then add 1/2 cup of white wine, 1 tsp of thyme, 1/2 tsp of fennel seeds, salt, pepper and the rest of the stalks and fronds, chopped up finely. Simmer.
Add water and wine to the sautéed vegetables and bring to a boil, then simmer.
Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until reduced to about 2 cups of liquid. Cool and strain.
Heat the broth to a simmer in a small sauce pan and then put your filet in the broth to poach. Make sure it is completely covered. Like all fish, do not overcook. It will take about 7 minutes more or less, depending on the size of the filet. It should be flaky and opaque.
While the broth was heating, I made an easy little sauce for the fish. I took 3 grape tomatoes and quartered them lengthwise and put them in a dry sauce pan on high to get a tiny bit of char. Then I added 2 tsp of chopped onions, salt and pepper, and 1 tsp of butter. I cut 4 olives into slices and added them. I let it all cook until tender and the tomatoes were breaking down and added a splash of white wine. I turned down the heat and let simmer until the fish was done.
Lay down a nice sauce (tomatoes and olives) and serve with a vegetable on this side (cucumbers).
I served it with some slices of cucumber with salt, pepper and a few splashes of balsamic vinegar on the side. I laid down the sauce and placed the cod filet on top.
While the Swede in me thinks nothing in the world can compare with some torsk sautéed in butter with a bit of nutmeg, this is a delicious, light and flavorful alternative. Definitely a better use of the stalks than compost.