Roasted Cod with Caramelized Grapefruit and Fennel

I’m a grapefruit convert.  I have seen the light — the Florida sunlight, even in the dark of a Boston Winter.  My farmshare has shown me the way.  I didn’t even like grapefruit until recently, although you wouldn’t know it from this blog.  But the farmshare kept bringing it, which forced me to get creative.  I love the fresh citrus flavor that grapefruit brings when its bitterness is tempered. 

While in San Francisco at the end of February, I had an amazing sea bass with grapefruit-fennel slaw at The Firefly, and I’ve been trying to recreate it ever since.  This comes close, and was on the table in less than 20 minutes. 

This would work with other fish, with onions instead of fennel, with other herbs, and with oranges, which wouldn’t need so much sugar.  I’m also experimenting with natural sweeteners, but honey doesn’t seem to do the trick.  Cod comes in fresh from Gloucester to our local Whole Foods, making it flaky and delicious — a far cry from that tasteless substance in your average fish and chips.

I love the challenges that come in the box of organic produce each week.   Who knows what next week will bring?

Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2 (easily multiplied)

2 6 oz cod fillets
1 bulb fennel
2 grapefruits
1/3 c sugar
1 t coriander
1T EVOO (Extra-Virgin Olive Oil)
salt and pepper to taste
bed of greens, such as baby spinach, arugula, or watercress (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   
2. Slice the fennel into 1″ pieces, removing the tough core.  Reserve and chop the fronds.
3. By now the oven should be heated.  Place cod in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 10-12 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat the EVOO over medium-low heat.  Add the fennel and a pinch of salt.  Cook slowly, until fennel begins to caramelize. 
5. While you’re waiting for the fennel to caramelize, section the grapefruits, removing seeds and pith, and place into a bowl.  If you’re not sure how to do this, check out this video.  Toss the grapefruit sections with the sugar.
6. When fennel has begun to caramelize (it will turn translucent, brown a bit, and taste sweet), add the sugared grapefruit to the pan.  Cook for 3 minutes until grapefruit begins to caramelize.  Be careful not to burn.  Add coriander, toss, and turn off the heat. 
7.  Remove the cod from the oven.  Place each filet on a bed of greens (if desired).
8.  Top with the grapefruit-fennel mixture, garnish with fennel fronds, and serve.