Fish Baked in Celery, Leek & Fennel Sauce

Fish Baked in Celery, Leek & Fennel SauceCelery adds a wonderful freshness to dishes. Here I sauté it with fennel and leeks then made a creamy white sauce, which I spoon over fish fillets and bake to make a warming and easy winter meal. For a complete meal, serve with a baked potato and a steamed green vegetable or a salad of mixed leaves.

This sauce is so good that you will be thinking of other ways that you can use it. One of the other ways I love to use it, is to add cooked macaroni, then pile into a dish, scatter with grated cheese and
sprinkle with paprika and bake until hot and bubbly – now that’s a classy mac ‘n cheese!

It is also delicious mixed with other vegetables such as potatoes,
kumara or pumpkin and once again topped with cheese and baked to make a main dish featuring vegetables.

Fish Baked in Celery, Leek & Fennel Sauce

I also like to stir chopped parsley through the cooked sauce – however, parsley seems to be a bit scarce in these parts at the moment – none of the local growers seem to have any, so I am just having to make do
without it until reappears.

Serves 4

4 x 150g firm white fish fillets
CELERY, LEEK & FENNEL SAUCE
3-4 sticks celery, diced – about 1 cup
4 baby leeks, sliced
2 baby bulbs fennel, chopped
30g butter
¼ cup flour
2 cups milk
1 lemon
sea salt and black pepper
smoked paprika

1              Preheat oven to 200°C.

2              For the sauce, place celery, leeks, fennel and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until vegetables soften.

3              Gradually stir in flour, then constantly stirring, add milk and continue cooking and stirring constantly until sauce boils and
thickens. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice and season to taste with salt and black pepper.

4              Place fish in a baking dish, spoon over sauce, sprinkle with paprika and bake for10-15 minutes or until fish flakes when tested with a fork.

So tell me, how do you think you might use this vegetable and flavour packed sauce?

Where did the ingredients for this dish come from:
Fish: Tangaroa Seafoods – Napier; Fennel, leeks, celery: Krismaw Gardens – Hastings; Milk: Origin Earth – Havelock North; Smoked Paprika: Orcona Chillis ‘n’ Peppers – Hastings; From the garden: lemon; Store Cupboard Ingredients: butter, flour, salt, black pepper.

Note: Many of these producers can be found at the Napier Urban Food Market each Saturday morning and/or at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’
Market each Sunday morning.

Happy cooking and eating.

Recipe by Rachel Blackmore

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Other recipes using celery you might like to try:

Braised Lamb with Celery & Celeriac

Braised Lamb with Celery & Celeriac

Celery, Onion, Pancetta & Tomato Braise

Celery, Onion, Pancetta & Tomato Braise

Celery Risotto

Celery Risotto

 

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