Baked Haddock with Fennel Cauliflower Puree

The fennel in this dish imparts a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to the cauliflower and adds an herbal aroma to the fish as it bakes.

Do you love white fish as much as we do? Since we live near the Maine coast, we’re fortunate to get it fresh caught or pretty close to it. I’ve learned that most white fish is best with simple seasonings — a little olive oil, garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes and lemon juice usually does it for us.

That’s exactly how I cooked this haddock — except I served it with some fennel-cauliflower puree. What a nice, nutrition-packed and tasty addition to the dish! We both liked this change of pace for baked fish fillets and I think you will, too.

My inspiration for Baked Haddock
with Fennel-Cauliflower Puree

I found this recipe in The Eat Fat, Get Thin Cookbook by Mark Hyman, M.D. I didn’t delve into Dr. Hyman’s eating philosophy/diet plan — but as I understand it, he recommends eating more fats as a way to stay satisfied longer.

I think that’s why there’s more butter in this dish than I would normally cook with. [The recipe below shows the full amount, but I cut back by about half and we didn’t miss it.]

This Baked Haddock is easy enough for a weeknight meal, but also company-worthy. Keep in mind, we’re not talking about bold flavors here, but rather a meal that’s simple and elegant — kind of like what you’d be served in a finer restaurant.

It’s especially good to serve to guests because you can make the puree earlier in the day and re-heat it in the microwave just before serving. Then it’s just 10 minutes or so in the oven for the fish. For the win!

Fennel Cauliflower Puree

A Look at the Fennel-Cauliflower Puree Ingredients

The recipe makes too much puree for one pound of fish, in my view. But rather than cut the recipe in half, I decided to make the full quantity and look for other ways to serve it. There are a couple of ideas below. For now, let’s look at the key ingredients:

  • Cauliflower: The recipe calls for a full head of cauliflower, chopped into 1-inch pieces. I had a huge head of cauliflower so only used about 3/4 of it.
    Nutrition Facts: Cauliflower is packed with antioxidants and fiber and is low in calories. Plus it’s a good source of folate (a B vitamin) and an excellent source of Vitamins C and K.
  • Leek: You’ll be using the white part of the leek, thinly sliced.
    Nutrition Facts: Leeks are low in calories but high in nutrients, particularly magnesium and vitamins A, C, and K. 
  • Fennel Bulb: Reserve the fronds from the fennel to “wrap” the fish in while baking.
    Nutrition Facts: Also low in calories, fennel is a good source of fiber, along with other nutrients like vitamins A and C.

Ssssh….even if you have someone in your household who’s not a huge vegetable fan, they will probably like this delicate-flavored, veggie-packed puree.

Bowl of Fennel Cauliflower Puree

More Ways to Use Fennel-Cauliflower Puree

  • Add some of this puree to mashed potatoes for a nice little flavor change. Try starting at 30/70 ratio of puree to potatoes and adjust up from there to suit your taste.
  • Add Fennel-Cauliflower puree to risotto or couscous.
  • Serve the puree as a side dish for any roasted or grilled vegetables.
  • Add a touch of horseradish to the puree and use it to top a baked potato.
Baked Haddock with Fennel Cauliflower Puree
Sandwich the fish fillets between the fennel fronds before baking.

Baked Haddock with Fennel-Cauliflower Puree

Course: Dinner
Servings

2

servings

Fennel bulb imparts a slightly sweet and earthy flavor to cauliflower and leeks in this simple puree served with baked haddock.

Ingredients

  • For Fennel-Cauliflower Puree
  • 1 TBSP. olive oil

  • 2 TBSP. unsalted butter, divided
    (The original recipe calls for grass-fed butter, if you prefer.)

  • 1 large leek, rinsed well; white section halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

  • 1 large fennel bulb, fronds reserved and bulb cut in half, cored and roughly chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth

  • 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper

  • For Baked Haddock
  • 2 (8-ounce) skinless haddock fillets

  • Fennel fronds

  • 1 TBSP. olive oil

  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, optional

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, optional

Directions for the Puree

  • In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat until the butter melts.
  • Add the leek and fennel and cook, stirring, until softened but not brown. This takes about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower and chicken broth and stir to combine.
  • Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
  • At this point, you can choose to start baking the fish and finish up steps 7 and 8 for the puree while the fish is baking. Instead, I made the puree earlier in the day, refrigerated it and then re-heated it in the microwave just before serving. This worked well, with no changes in texture or taste.
  • When the vegetables (cauliflower, leeks, fennel) are tender, transfer the contents of the pot to a food processor. Add the remaining 1 TBSP. of butter, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Puree about one minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. NOTE: If you’re not making the puree ahead, you will need to keep the puree warm after this step until the fish is done.
  • For Baked Haddock
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (optional).
  • Add half the fennel fronds to the pan and place the fish on top. Drizzle it with 1 tablespoon olive oil and add garlic and red pepper flakes, if using. Top the fillets with the remaining fennel fronds.
  • Bake the fish until just firm to the touch and opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and carefully remove the fennel fronds.
  • Divide the fennel-cauliflower puree among the plates and top each portion with a piece of fish. Enjoy!

Be sure to let me know in the comments below if you try Baked Haddock with Fennel-Cauliflower Puree and how you liked it. You can tag me on Instagram @honest_and_simple, too.

I am not a licensed nutritionist, medical professional or cosmetics expert. The information provided on Honest + Simple is for general informational purposes only. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the Food + Drug Administration and are not intended to treat, prevent or cure any disease. Before making decisions about your health or other concerns, please consult a qualified professional and do not rely on this website for medical advice.

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