Fennelled fish of the day

Fennelled fish of the day

This recipe from Elena Arzak would be made with whichever fish was in season at the restaurant, but she particularly recommendsmackerel. The dish gently layers the flavour and fragrance offennel seeds, pressing them into the cured mackerel and infusing them into butter. It is served on top of a delicate ajo blanco, a traditionalSpanishgarlic and almond cold soup.
  • Cooking:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Wash, fillet and debone the mackerel
  2. Step 2

    Mix together the salt and sugar
  3. Step 3

    Cover the fish with the salt and sugar mixture and leave to cure, skin facing up, for 20-25 minutes (the precise time will depend on the size of the fish)
  4. Step 4

    Flip the fish over and press the fennel into the flesh of the fish firmly. Leave to one side
  5. Step 5

    For the ajo blanco, soak the breadcrumbs in cold water. Squeeze out the excess water and then blend with the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning with salt and vinegar to taste
  6. Step 6

    For the dill oil, combine the dill, spinach and oil. Heat to 80°C for 6 minutes
  7. Step 7

    Transfer the hot oil to a heatproof bowl and rapidly cool over a bowl of ice so that the oil maintains its vibrant green colour
  8. Step 8

    Strain the mixture over a sieve to remove the pulp
  9. Step 9

    Add the water, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest to a pan and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside to cool
  10. Step 10

    Pour the syrup over the pear and steam in a steam oven at 90°C for 25 minutes
  11. Step 11

    Once steamed, finely dice the pear
  12. Step 12

    For the candied coriander seeds, mix all ingredients together in a dish and then immediately strain the mixture to remove the excess sugar
  13. Step 13

    Add the sugared seeds to a hot pan and cook until they begin to caramelise
  14. Step 14

    For the fennel butter, first scald the vanilla pod in water, and then scrape out the seeds
  15. Step 15

    Mix the garlic oil with the ground coriander, the vanilla seeds and salt. Slowly incorporate the flavoured oil to your room temperature butter. Finally, add your chopped parsley
  16. Step 16

    For the samphire, add the samphire, 40g fennel butter, water and some salt to a pan. Simmer until the water has evaporated, then add lemon juice to taste
  17. Step 17

    To serve, add the ajo blanco to a black plate
  18. Step 18

    Top with the mackerel, some diced pear, lime zest and a few candied seeds
  19. Step 19

    Drizzle with dill oil, and garnish with a few springs of samphire