Catch of the Day

By Meda Kessler

Elevate a simple fish dish with the right spice

Ladye Ann Miller, vice president of Haltom’s Jewelers, loves to cook, be it holiday meals for family and friends or simple dinners for her and husband Jack. Monday night at the Millers’ Westover Hills home means fish.

“We first had steelhead trout as a restaurant special in Colorado,” says Ladye Ann. “Then it started showing up at local fish counters; ruby red trout is also good. This recipe cooks the fish without drying it out, and the citrus gets a little syrupy for a light sauce. I have tried to add white wine, lemon juice or butter, but it’s really best with just the two basic ingredients plus spices. That makes it the perfect weeknight supper.”

She recalls a certain TV chef personality who featured a similar fish dish, too.

“I have a vague memory of watching The Galloping Gourmet making a poached and broiled fish in the ’70s. This is my version.” (For those too young to remember, tuxedo-wearing GG Graham Kerr flambeed his way into cooking-show stardom with his decadent dishes, which used lots of wine, butter and cream.)

We ordered the fennel pollen online — is a good source — as it’s not available locally. (Ladye Ann says you can use any seasoning you’d like.) To get a similar licorice flavor, substitute fennel or anise seeds and grind them yourself. As both are lighter in flavor, use twice the amount in the recipe to get that sweet note in the citrus sauce. Finely chopped fennel fronds also work. Again, use twice as much.

Ladye Ann serves her favorite Konriko wild pecan rice as a side dish.

Trout Fillets with Orange and Fennel

Serves 2

  • 2 boneless steelhead or ruby red trout fillets

  • Olive oil

  • 1 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 1 tablespoon fennel pollen

Heat oven to highest broiling temperature and set rack on top setting. 

Line a quarter-size baking sheet with aluminum foil (or use any pan with a lip); brush or spray evenly with olive oil. If you don’t have a small baking sheet, use enough heavy tin foil on a full-size pan to create one.

Place two fillets, skin side down, in pan. It’s OK if fillets touch.

Pour fresh orange juice into pan to almost cover the fish. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and fennel pollen. Broil for approximately 9 minutes on one side only, depending on the thickness of the fish.

Remove from heat, plate and spoon sauce over fish. Serve with rice or your favorite sides.