Baked Anchovy-Stuffed Red Mullet with Red Fennel
- 1 large or medium fennel bulb
- 1 red onion, sliced into thin wedges
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the stuffing to drizzle
- 1 lemon, juiced plus wedges to serve
- 4 medium whole red mullet, about 350g of each, gutted, scaled, and washed
- 50g anchovies, drained of oil, and finely chopped
- 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
- 1 plum tomato, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/fan 6. Remove any fronds from the fennel and reserve. Trim the tips - they are coarse - quarter the bulb(s) and trim the base of each piece.
Slice the fennel lengthways into slim wedges, about 5mm at the thickest part. Toss in a roasting tin or a 30cm shallow, flameproof casserole with the onion, salt and pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice. Bake for 15 minutes.
Mix all the ingredients for the stuffing with seasoning and a little olive oil (the mixture should be moist but, not sloppy). Season the cavities of the fish, then fill with the stuffing, pushing it up into the heads to get plenty inside. Put the fish on top of the partly baked vegetables, season, then drizzle with olive oil. Scatter over the fennel fronds.
Bake for 20 minutes. The flesh should be opaque near the bone at the thickest part - not at all glassy - and the vegetables tender. Serve with lemon wedges and bread.
Credit: Diana Henry