Fennel puree & fries with sea bass and its aniseed sauce

Fennel puree and fries with sea bass recipe

So what was this homemade fish stock recipe for?… Well… A veggie fight!

Mel of Bouchon for Two and Leela of She Simmers organize a veggie challenge each month. And December is… battle fennel!

So I bought fennels and spent days wondering how I was going to prepare them. First, option was a salmon, fennel and some fruit carpaccio. But I couldn’t decide which fruit… Orange, mango, papaya, pear?… Which one would you add it?… I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m not giving up on that one :-P

Since the recipe submitted has to, somehow, reflect its cook; mine definitely needed some butter and cream ;-) Let’s keep it French and forget about cholesterol!! Alright, you’re allowed to replace the cream by a plain yogurt if you really need to! But be aware it will taste different if you switch butter for margarine…

So, here is my dish: sea bass fillet and its aniseed sauce served with fennel puree and crispy fennel fries.

Preparation time: 25 minutes – Cooking time: 30- 35 minutes

Ingredients (for 4 servings)

Sea bass

3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) of sea bass fish (approx. 2 big ones)
3 tablespoons of Olive oil (click here to buy online)
Salt & pepper

Aniseed sauce

6 tablespoons of olive oil (click here to buy online)
3 tablespoons of chopped dill
1 teaspoon of aniseed liquor (Pastis, Ouzo etc.)

Fennel puree

3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) of fennel bulbs (approx. 3 bulbs)
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) of homemade fish stock (recipe here)
4 tablespoons of creme fraiche (or plain yogurt)
3 tablespoons of chopped dill
1 oz (30 g) of butter
Salt & pepper

Fennel fries

1.1 lbs (500 g) of fennel bulbs (approx. 1 bulb)
4 tablespoons of flour


1/ If you’re lucky, your fish merchant will remove the fillets for you. Mine just cleans it, then, client is on its own! If you’re a first timer, check Chef Simon’s explanation here. You can either keep the skin on the fillets or remove it. Store fillets in the refrigerator and use heads, bones and fins to make your own fish stock.

2/ Rinse fennels and dry them. You can take the outside leaves off if they don’t look so good. Slice leaves giving them a fries shape. Keep aside the slices of the last fennel for the fries.

3/ Prepare the aniseed sauce: mix together in a blender olive oil, dill and aniseed liquor.

4/ Melt butter in a pan. (Keep low heat so butter doesn’t get brown. If it does, change it; eating it is carcinogenic… At least, that’s what my mum always told me ;-) )

5/ Add fennel (the puree part) and leave covered for 8 minutes stirring from time to time.

6/ During that time, flour the fennel you kept aside and turn your deep fat fryer on. If you don’t have one, heat 2 cups of olive oil in a pan over medium- high heat.

7/ Go back to the puree, add fish stock to the fennel in the pan and leave it simmer until all liquid has evaporated.

8/ When oil is hot, dip fennel fries in it and leave them until they get a golden color.

9/ When fries are ready, put them on a plate covered with kitchen paper. Add salt and keep in the oven over low heat so they don’t get cold while you finish.

10/ Liquidize fennel the best you can (it tends to get stuck in the blender, but don’t worry if it’s not mixed well).

11/ Add cream and dill, then liquidize again. Season with salt and pepper.

12/ Prepare sea bass: In a frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add sea bass fillets, heating them on the skin side for 3 minutes, then 2 minutes on the other side. Season with salt and pepper.

13/ Serve sea bass on top of the puree adding some fennel fries and aniseed sauce on the side.

10 thoughts on “Fennel puree & fries with sea bass and its aniseed sauce

  1. 12/05/2009 at 1:29 AM

    I had sea bass for the first time and absolutely love it! Been looking for a good recipe and here it is thank you!

  2. 12/05/2009 at 10:27 AM

    I so love this festive dish!! I think fennel is a great vegetable & I love that you paired it with Pastis, because this alcohol only adds a ton of flavour, it brings out the flavour of the fennel only more,…!! I use Pastis a lot with fennel!

    Georgous & ooh so festive too!

    When can I come over for dinner???

  3. 12/05/2009 at 2:58 PM

    Whenever you like Sophie! Will you bring some of that very tempting onion, apple & apple cider soup? :-D

  4. 12/06/2009 at 2:36 AM

    I love the idea of these fennel fries and puree! Bravo for such an inventive use of the fennel!

  5. 12/06/2009 at 2:16 PM

    this is delicious, I love fish, this is another recipe that I could definitely use..thanks for sharing and oh, I love your plating..really nice! :)

  6. 12/06/2009 at 3:36 PM

    What a beautiful, simple dish! I love the flavors that you paired with this buttery fish.

  7. 12/06/2009 at 8:35 PM

    hello are you based in France ? pierre

  8. 12/07/2009 at 1:55 PM

    Yes, I live in Paris. I didn’t know your blog, nice recipes and great pictures… Will definitely be checking it back :-)

  9. 12/08/2009 at 4:12 AM

    Wow, the flavors of fennel really do shine here with the puree and the fries! Excellent creation!

  10. 12/13/2009 at 4:25 PM

    This looks delicious! I love fennel and I am always looking for new ways to eat it (and to feed it to my children). I’ll definitively try a fennel puree soon.

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