Crispy Fennel-Topped Fish with Garlic and Oil Spaghetti | Rachael Ray


Crispy Fennel-Topped Fish with Garlic and Oil Spaghetti | Rachael Ray

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“This is a meal that I make often in Italy,” says Rach. “It’s so versatile, and it’s so weird—I based it on a picture! I saw an image of a fennel-topped fish and I became obsessed with trying to make it.” This is the result, paired with a simple garlic and oil spaghetti, called aglio e olio in Italian. “It’s so easy and delicious!” says Rach. (If you don’t like fish, substitute small chicken breasts like Rach does for her sister, Maria.) To go with the dinner, John created a lovely fennel, Campari and lemon cocktail that he calls Tuscan Sunset. 

Pro Tip from Rach: She adds a “kooky” ingredient to the spaghetti that may be new to some. It’s called samphire; basically, land seaweed. It’s super tasty and adds texture and amazing amounts of nutrition to the dish, she says. It’s also a talking point if you’re having guests over. You can get it online and it’s fun to try, but it’s just an option, so don’t worry if you leave it out.  

For more simple fish recipes from Rach, check out her Baked Fish with Bay and Breadcrumbs and Sea Bass Fishwich. 

Ingredients For the Crispy Fennel Fish or Chicken:

    1 bulb of fennel, trimmed and grated1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped1 tablespoon lemon zest2 teaspoons ground turmeric1 inch ginger, grated or minced2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped1 teaspoon each fennel seeds and pollen2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for the baking dishFour 6- to 8-ounce filets of thick-cut branzini or any firm white fish or small boneless, skinless chicken breastsSalt and pepperChopped flat-leaf parsley and/or chopped fresh oregano, to serve Lemon wedges or cheeks, to serve

For the Garlic and Oil Spaghetti:

    ½ cup EVOO7 or 8 anchovies (it’s a natural salt in the dish)6 or 7 large cloves garlic, grated, chopped or thinly sliced1 tablespoon lemon zest1 tablespoon Calabrian chili paste or 1 teaspoon chili flakes½ cup dry vermouth or crisp Tuscan white wine 1 pound egg spaghetti or spaghettiSalt, for pasta waterAbout ½ pound samphire (optional; see Tip)¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Yield Preparation

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. 

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Crispy Fennel-Topped Fish with Garlic and Oil Spaghetti | Rachael Ray

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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. 


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