And don't let the poor lighting fool you on this one, this dish was absolutely amazing and gets major bonus points for taking less than half an hour to make!
Adapted from a Recipes for Health classic from the New York Times, in their infinite wisdom.
2 pounds fennel with fronds still attached (3 medium bulbs)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, preferably a spring onion, chopped (about 1 cup chopped onion)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 1/2 pounds firm white fish fillets, such as Pacific cod, Pacific halibut or striped mullet
Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel, and set them aside. Quarter the bulbs, cut away the cores and slice thin across the grain. You should have about 4 cups sliced fennel.
Chop the fronds, and measure out 1 to 2 tablespoons (to taste).
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, nonstick skillet, and add the onion.
Cook, stirring, until the onion begins to soften, about three minutes.
Add the fennel and a generous pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring often, until the fennel mixture is tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, stir together and cover the pan.
Turn the heat to low, and continue to cook 5 to 10 more minutes until the mixture is very soft and fragrant.
Stir in the chopped fennel fronds, and remove from the heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Oil a baking dish large enough for the fish to fit in a single layer.
Season the fish with salt and pepper, and arrange in the baking dish.
Cover with the fennel stalks you set aside.
Cover the dish tightly with foil, and place in the oven. Bake 15 minutes.
Check the fish; if you can cut into it with a fork, it is done (cod will cook more quickly than halibut). If it is still tough in the middle, cover and return to the oven for five minutes. Remove from the oven and check again. Remove the fennel stalks from the fish and discard.
Advance preparation: The cooked fennel will keep for two days in the refrigerator.