Pic of Pollock and saffron potatoes with braised fennel and aioli

Pollock and saffron potatoes with braised fennel and aioli

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Pollock and saffron potatoes with braised fennel and aioli

Main Serves 2 45 min
The aim with your fish is to get perfectly crispy skin: it makes it a joy to eat. This is easier than you'd think; all it takes a hot pan and minimal intervention. The skin will lift away from the pan as it crisps, so resist the urge to poke and prod. You'll see the flesh slowly turn from translucent to opaque as it cooks. When you flip the fish and remove it from the heat, it should easily continue to cook in the declining warmth of the pan. This gently finishes the fish and stops it overcooking and drying out.

Cook's notes

The aioli is perfect for dabbing on your fish. Try adding a small amount to the potatoes and mixing it into the liquid to bring a pungent richness to the whole dish.


  • 1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • oil for frying e.g. sunflower or light olive
  • 500g new potatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 100ml white wine
  • 30g parsley
  • 50g mayonnaise
  • 2 pollock fillets
  • 25g butter
  • 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
Image of Pollock and saffron potatoes with braised fennel and aioli


Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30 min
  • Step 1

    Trim the woody stalks away from the fennel. Cut it into quarter's and trim out any tough looking root core. Slice each quarter into 4 evenly sized wedges. Boil the kettle and measure out 500ml of boiling water. Crumble in the stock cube and whisk until dissolved.
  • Step 2

    Add the saffron to the stock. Peel and finely chop or crush 2 garlic cloves. Roughly chop the tomatoes. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the large pan or casserole. Cook the fennel over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, wash the potatoes and chop into 2-3cm pieces. Add them to the pan of fennel. Cook gently for 5 more minutes until taking on a bit of colour. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf and half the garlic to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, then tip in the wine.
  • Step 4

    Let it reduce by half, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan. Tip in the stock and add a pinch of salt and pepper if it needs it. Bring to a simmer and cook, loosely covered, until the potatoes are tender and the liquid has reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes.
  • Step 5

    In the meantime, wash the parsley, shake it dry and finely chop the leaves. Mix the remaining garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the mayonnaise to make the aioli. When the potatoes are cooked, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan.
  • Step 6

    Season the pollock with salt and pepper on all sides. When the oil is shimmering hot, add the pollock, skin side down. Fry on a medium heat for 3-4 minutes (see cook's note). Lift the fish, the skin should be a golden brown. Gently flip them over to the flesh side.
  • Step 7

    Add the butter and let it melt and foam. Add a squeeze of lemon and remove the pan from the heat. Let the fish sit in the pan for 2 minutes. Stir the chopped parsley into the saffron stained potatoes and ladle them into shallow bowls.
  • Step 8

    Perch the fish on top, skin side up. Spoon over the buttery juices. Serve with the aioli and a wedge or 2 of lemon on the side.

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