Pike are fish-eaters and grow massive in Wawang Lake. But for all their bravado, pike’s taste is very delicate — delicate enough to be appreciated when cooked simply in broth.
- Fillets from a 3-4 lb. pike
- 1 qt. fish fumet, stock or broth
- 1 cup white wine, such as Chardonnay or Riesling
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 t. cracked white pepper
- Chopped fronds from one bunch fennel
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 medium onion, sliced into half-moons
- Lemon wedges to serve
- 1 T. finely chopped fennel fronds for garnish
In a long, shallow pan that will hold the fish fillets without crowding, pour in the wine and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, reduce by half, then turn the heat down to medium.
Add the fish broth, salt, white pepper, onion and half the fennel and bring to a simmer. Do not boil it. If you have a thermometer look for a temperature between 170-180 degrees. Hold the broth at this temperature for 30 minutes. If it looks like this may not be enough broth to cover your fillets, add water.
A word on saltiness. Your broth should taste as salty as the sea. The fish will pick up this saltiness and may not need further seasoning later.
Add the lemon juice and the rest of the fennel, then add the fish. Turn the heat off and cover the pan. Let the fish steep for 15-20 minutes or until it flakes.
Slide the fish out of the pan gently — this is tricky, so be careful and take your time — and onto a platter. Pick off any old fennel fronds sticking to the meat. Garnish with the fresh fennel fronds (if desirable).
Serve with potatoes, the lemon wedges and, if you’d like, a little horseradish sauce or grainy mustard on the side. Steamed vegetables is a perfect to accompany this dish.
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