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Ham and halibut work brilliantly together in this posh take on fish pie. Halibut is a very dry fish, so this method of cooking it very gently in the olive oil and lemon works very well.


  • 4 x 170g boneless, skinless halibut steaks

  • 4 large slices parma ham

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • juice ½ lemon

  • Salt and pepper

  • For roasted fennel

  • 2 bulbs of fennel

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

  • 4 cloves of garlic, not peeled

  • For the sauce

  • 150ml Pernod

  • 150ml pint vegetable stock

  • 150ml pint double cream

  • squeeze of lemon juice

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the buttery mash

  • 900 g floury potatoes, such as King Edwards

  • 100g butter

  • 100ml hot milk


  • 1.

    Season halibut steaks and wrap each in a slice of Parma ham. Heat the oil and lemon juice and lay in the wrapped halibut. Baste well with the dressing cover and cook very gently basting occasionally for 4/5 minutes depending on the thickness of the steaks . Serve with the roasted fennel and some creamy mash potato.

  • For the fennel:

  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 200c / 400f / gas mark 6

  • 2.

    Cut the each bulb of fennel lengthways into 8 wedges. Roughly chop the fennel tops and reserve. Blanch the fennel in boiling water for 5 minutes or until slightly tender. Drain well and pat dry.

  • 3.

    Place the fennel in a roasting tray and drizzle over the olive oil. Season and roast for 20 minutes. Add the garlic and roast for a further 15 minutes.

  • 4.

    Meanwhile make the sauce; Place the Pernod and stock into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently until reduced by a third. Pour in the cream and reduce for a further 4- 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.

  • 5.

    Squeeze the roasted garlic flesh from it skin into a small bowl and mash to a pulp. Pour in a little of the hot sauce and beat well until smooth. Stir the garlic and reserved fennel tops into the hot sauce. Season with lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper,

  • 6.

    To serve, divide the roasted fennel between four large serving plates and top each with the Halibut .Pour around the sauce and eat immediately.

  • For the mash:

  • 1.

    Rinse the potatoes, put them in a large pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Salt generously and partially cover with a lid. Simmer until the potatoes are tender to the point of a knife, and then drain them. Pull off the skins and then throw them back into the pan and return to the heat.

  • 2.

    Mash them with the butter until there are no lumps. Pour in the hot (but not boiling) milk and beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

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