Caitlin Bensel
Hands-on Time
30 Mins
Total Time
2 Hours 45 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 1 fillet, about 1 1/2 cups relish)

Poaching fish is a smart use for your slow cooker. The wine mixture cooks in the slow cooker for 2 hours to get hot and mingled before the fish is added for 15 to 25 minutes. The relish, with its slightly acidic tomatoes, briney capers, and crunchy fennel, is a great complement for the bass. This dish also makes a fantastic topper for salad greens. Garnish with additional fresh thyme sprigs, if desired.

How to Make It

Step 1

Cut 1 shallot into quarters. Stir together the quartered shallots, wine, water, lemon juice, caper liquid, pepper, fennel seeds, 4 of the thyme sprigs, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until mixture is well incorporated, 2 hours.

Step 2

Finely chop the leaves from the remaining 2 thyme sprigs. Thinly slice the remaining shallot. Stir together the chopped thyme, sliced shallots, cherry tomatoes, sliced fennel, capers, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a bowl. Stir 1 tablespoon of the wine mixture from the slow cooker into the relish.

Step 3

Add the sea bass to the slow cooker, skin side up, and nestle into the wine mixture. Cover and cook on LOW until a thermometer inserted in the fillets registers 140°F and the fish flakes easily with a fork, 15 to 25 minutes. Transfer the fish to a platter, discarding the wine mixture in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the fish with the salt, and serve with the tomato-fennel relish.

Chef's Notes

Fennel is a cool-weather vegetable with a crunchy texture and a slightly sweet flavor similar to licorice or star anise. It’s composed of a bulb, stalks, feathery fronds, and seeds. This recipe makes use of two parts: fennel seeds to flavor the poaching liquid and sliced fennel bulb as the base for the relish.

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