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Article: Fish Fillets in a Pastis, Fennel, Leek & Butter Sauce

Fish Fillets in a Pastis, Fennel, Leek & Butter Sauce


For Fish
  • 12 ounces, white fish (2 equal-sized pieces) – (cod, haddock, tilapia, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon, il Fustino Arbequina EVOO
  • 2 tablespoons, Pernod, Ricard or other Pastis
  • 1 teaspoon, Herbs de Provence
For Sauce
  • 2 ounces, fennel – stems removed chopped fine
  • 2 ounces, leeks – white part only, cleaned and chopped fine
  • 1 ounce, butter
  • 2 tablespoons, il Fustino Arbequina EVOO
  • 1 teaspoon, kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon, Herbs de Provence
  • 1/2 tablespoon, freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves, garlic – minced
  • 1/2 cup, clam juice
  • 1/4 cup, Pernod or Ricard
  • 1/2 cup, heavy cream


1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. If using frozen fish, thaw in refrigerator overnight. Frozen or fresh, pat fish dry with paper towels. Place on a sheet pan lined with non-stick aluminum foil. Salt and Pepper both sides.

3. Combine 1 T olive oil, 2 T Pastis, and 1 t Herbs de Provence. Wisk together. Pour over fish.

4. Place fish in oven. Set timer for 15 minutes.

5. While fish is cooking, in a heavy saute pan melt butter and add 2 T olive oil over medium heat. Add fennel and leeks. Saute, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.

6. Add salt, pepper, 1 t Herbs de Provence, and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add clam juice, anise flavored liqueur, and cream.

7. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until reduced by half. Keep warm.

8. When fish has cooked 15 minutes, test for doneness by touch. Fish should be firm. If not give it an additional minute or two.

9. Remove fish from oven.

10. On serving plate, spoon a good amount of warmed sauce. Place fish on top. Serve Immediately.

The night Laura ate this dish in a small restaurant in La Napoule, France was the night she fell in love with fish. Pastis is the general category of anise-flavored liquer of which some of the better-known brands are Pernod and Ricard, but there are many more.