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Steamed Whole Fish with Fennel and Sauce Vierge


Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes 

Total Time: 40 minutes 

Yield: 4 servings 

Cuisine: Aussie Summer Entertaining

Skill Level: Easy



  • 1 whole fresh 1.2 kg snapper
  • 2 whole fennel bulbs
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 large red chilli per fish
  • 100 ml quality olive oil you can find
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 100 ml of white wine 
  • 600g kipfler potatoes
  • For the Sauce Vierge you’ll need 
  • 1 whole lemon to juice and zest 
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes
    1 punnet of pear tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of baby capers
  • 100g pitted black olives
  • 100g of pitted green olives 
  • ½ half bunch fresh basil  
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • For the fennel salad you’ll need 
  • 1 whole fennel bulb with fronds
  • 1 whole orange
  • ½ bunch chives
  • ¼ bunch fresh flat parsley
  • ¼ bunch fresh mint
  • 50 ml quality olive oil 
  • sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper



  1. Wash the fish thoroughly then pat dry with kitchen paper, inside and outside
  2. Cut the fish at a 45-degree angle several times on each side
  3. Wash, peel and slice two of the fennel bulbs into 1 centimetre thick slices.
  4. Toast the coriander and fennel seeds lightly and crush with the side of your kitchen knife
  5. Next you’ll want to heat your 100 ml of olive oil in a heavy pan and GENTLY fry the fennel slices with 2 cloves of roughly chopped garlic and your chopped chilli
  6. When the fennel begins to colour slightly and become translucent, simply transfer it to a deep baking tray and season the fennel with salt, pepper and the crushed seeds.
  7. Arrange the fish on top of the fennel, then add the white wine to the baking tray.
  8. Cover the entire baking tray with foil and fold over the edges to ensure it is sealed.
  9. Place the tray in the pre-heated oven at 180 degrees C for 15 minutes

To make the Sauce Vierge:

  1.   Cut the tomatoes in half lengthwise and cut the olives into a rough dice
  2.   Mix the olives, tomatoes, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, baby capers, lemon zest and juice together in a bowl and reserve.

To make the salad:

  1.   Finely slice the washed and peeled fennel bulb into a metal bowl, adding the juice from 1 lemon.
  2.   Segment the orange and add the halved segments to the fennel. 
  3.   Season with salt and pepper, then add the coarsely chopped parsley, chives and mint and dress with a dash of olive oil and serve.

To finish the fish and Sauce Vierge:

  1.   Remove the fish from the baking tray, and place it on a serving platter, on top of the steamed fennel.
  2.   Strain the remaining liquid into a small saucepan, bringing it to the boil and let it reduce by half. 
  3.   Then, turn off the heat, and add the Sauce Vierge ingredients, including the torn-up basil leaves and seasoning.
  4.   Pour the sauce over the fish and serve with some lovely herbed Kipfler potatoes.



Kingfisher Seafood

  • 1.2 kg Snapper or similar

Nick & Sue’s Gourmet Deli

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Jar of baby capers
  • pitted black olives
  • pitted green olives 
  • Sea salt flakes
  • Black pepper


Camberwell Market Fresh Fruit & Veg

  • 2x whole fennel bulbs
  • Red Chillies
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Pear tomatoes
  • Kipfler potatoes
  • Oranges
  • Fresh chives
  • Fresh flat parsley
  • Fresh mint


Sweeties Fruit & Nuts

  • Coriander seeds
  • fennel seeds