Gurnard turns out rather delicious when paired with aniseed in the form of fennel. To provide an earthy base, we add some buckwheat to the mix. This seed is related to sorrel and rhubarb and is gluten-free and has a strong savoury taste. As such, the buckwheat delivers quite the whack of umami to the taste buds. Gurnard soaks this up nicely and, if cooked to delicate perfection, those lovely, white flakes can provide just the right sort of counterbalance.
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Trim off the fronds and stems of the fennel bulbs. Chop the stems into a fine dice and roughly chop the fronds.
Trim the base and slice the bulbs into thin wedges: roughly 8 per bulb.
Place a saucepan over a medium to low heat and add a good glug of oil.
Add the diced fennel stems and the garlic and cook until soft and slightly translucent: about 5 mins.
Add the buckwheat and mix through for a minute or so then add the stock.
Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cover with a lid. Leave to cook for 15 mins.
Place a large, wide lidded saucepan over a high heat, adding a healthy splash of oil.
Place the fennel wedges in and quickly fry for about 2 mins on each side so they catch a touch and begin to caramelise.
Pour over the dry white wine.
Turn the heat to low and cover. Leave for 10-15 mins until they become soft and golden.
Place the gurnard fillets on an oiled baking tray. Lightly drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven to roast for 10 mins, depending on the fillet thickness. The aim is to slightly undercook, so the fillets just begin to flake, but still hold together.
Make the dressing by mixing together the oil, lemon juice, chopped anchovy, tarragon and tomato.
When ready to serve, add the lemon zest and chopped fennel fronds to the buckwheat and season to taste.
To serve: spoon a generous amount of buckwheat into the centre of each plate and arrange the fennel around the side.
Place gurnard fillets on top.
Finish by drizzling over a generous amount of the dressing.
800 grams gurnard, each fillet cut in half
2 large fennel bulbs
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
250 grams Ceres Organics toasted kasha buckwheat
500mls Harris vegetable stock
100mls dry white wine
Tarragon and anchovy dressing:
100mls olive oil
1 lemon, zested and juiced
18 grams Farro Herbs fresh tarragon or chervil, leaves picked and finely chopped
2 tomatoes, deseeded and finely diced
6 Flott anchovy fillets, finely chopped