Sea Bass with Caramelized Fennel & Roasted Lemon Butter
3 medium lemons, scrub, wash well
Place lemons on aluminum foil, sprinkle with sugar and 2 tbsp. water. Fold to make a pouch, seal tightly and bake on a cookie sheet for 35- 40 minutes, or until lemons are soft, at 375 degrees. Remove and cool to touch. Cut lemons in half and squeeze juice into a saucepan. Stir in stock and bring to a boil, skim, and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Add butter, a small piece at a time, whisking constantly. Keep warm.
While lemons are cooling, increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in roasting pan. Add fennel, and cook without stirring, until fennel starts to brown. Set pan in oven and roast fennel for 30 minutes, or until tender.
When fennel is almost done, begin to prepare fish. Season Sea Bass on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat remaining oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan and heat oil until hot. Place fillets in pan and sear, 2 – 3 minutes per side. Set pan in oven to roast fish for another 5 minutes, or until just cooked through.
Remove fennel from oven. Arrange fennel on the bottom of each serving plate. Place bass on top of fennel. Ladle 2 ounces of lemon butter around each fish. Garnish with the reserved green fennel tops, thyme and serve immediately.
Pair with Ferrari-Carano Tre Terre Chardonnay.