Gently poaching fish in a flavorful liquid just about guarantees a perfect outcome—juicy, tasty fillets. Bonus: you also get vegetables and a delicious sauce, all in one pan.

Poached Provençal White Fish

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup dry vermouth (optional)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1½ lbs. tilapia, sea bass, snapper, or other firm white fish, skin removed and cut into chunks
  • A few fennel fronds
  • ½ lemon, cut into wedges
  1. In a large, deep pan over medium heat, sauté the onion, fennel, and garlic in the oil, stirring often, until they start to brown, 3-5 minutes.

  2. Add the vermouth (if using) and simmer until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes.

  3. Stir in the tomatoes, zest, salt, and 1 cup of water. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes.

  4. Push the vegetables to one side. Add the fish to the open part of the pan. Spoon the vegetables over the fish. Gently shake the pan to distribute the fish evenly. Reduce the heat to low and very gently simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5-10 minutes.

  5. Garnish with the fennel fronds. Serve with the lemon wedges.

Serves 4. Time: 30 minutes.

Per serving (6 oz. fish with sauce):

  • Calories: 330
  • Total fat: 16 g
  • Sat fat: 2.5 g
  • Carbs: 11 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Total sugar: 6 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Sodium: 510 mg

More great poaching combinations:

  • Carrots, leeks, celery, & zucchini
  • Ginger, scallions, miso broth, & spinach
  • Bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, garlic, paprika, & lemon

To see my poached fish recipes using these combos, go to

Have any good fish stories? Write to Kate Sherwood at

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI.