Crusted haddock with apple, fennel and toasted pepitos

I can't believe how long it has been since I actually cooked in my apartment. Over the summer I made a handful of meals, but I'm really talking slightly fancy avocado toast, homemade mayo, and different iterations of naan pizza. No complaints really here... but as I was standing over my stove sautéing onion and fennel, it just fundamentally felt right.

In the past four or so years, I've targeted cooking 52 recipes a year... and I really made it like every year but this one. The wheels just fell off the wagon a bit. I'm not sure that I'll get back to 52 again but it is a nice goal... and gets me to try new things like this recipe here.

I picked up the original recipe for Apple and Fennel soup from a Whole Foods flyer in the South End. I was walking through on Friday night hiding from the rain and it caught my attention. I stuffed this sucker into my bag and pulled it out on Saturday morning. I opted to make this sucker two ways: (1) normal soup and (2) slight reduction of the apple/fennel base... and top it with a seared haddock.

I absolutely love ordering fish when I'm at a restaurant. There is something about the seared / crispy / salty crust that is absolute perfection. Life goal? Figure this out. Examples? This dinner in Calistoga. This dinner in Oslo.

Want to make both the soup and fish dinner? Reserve 1 cup of liquid from the cooking process until you've plated your dinner. Then just add it into the apple/fennel pot and mix the liquid in. It's that easy.

Here's how this goes.
(Step 1) Heat a large saucepot over medium heat until hot. Add onion and fennel; cook about 8 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the pan.

(Step 2) Stir in broth, 1 cup water, apples, ginger, tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer about 35 minutes, or until fruit and vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally.

(Step 3) Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture until smooth. Ladle soup into bowls; garnish with seeds.

Since I'm no expert on searing fish yet, you can just follow the same directions I did from Food Lab.

Shopping List
1 medium sweet onion , chopped
1 large fennel bulb , cored and chopped
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 Granny Smith apples , cored and chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitos)
5 oz haddock fillet for each person
panko crumbs

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