Karen Martini's blue-eye fillets with lemon, fennel seeds and thyme

A simple dish like this is a great way to celebrate sparkling-fresh produce.
A simple dish like this is a great way to celebrate sparkling-fresh produce. Photo: William Meppem

Cooking four fillets of fish perfectly at home isn't always that easy; administering heat evenly while not crowding the pan requires a good stove-top and a bit of deftness. Using the griller, however, is a very effective way to cook four or more fillets. Critical to success: heavily coating the fish in butter and generous seasoning, as well as buying fillets of more or less uniform weight and thickness.


150g butter, plus extra to coat asparagus

4 x 240g blue-eye trevalla fillets, skin and bones removed

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

4 thyme sprigs, leaves pulled

2 tsp fennel seeds

2 fine, sliced rounds of lemon, cut in quarters

salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

8 very thick asparagus spears*, trimmed

lemon, to serve


1. Gently melt the 150g butter in a small pan over medium heat, then pour into a medium bowl and cool for about 2 minutes.

2. Line a heavy baking tray with baking paper. Turn the griller on high and preheat for 5 minutes.

3. Once the butter has cooled, place the fish in it and coat completely. Then add the garlic, thyme, fennel seeds and sliced lemon, combining gently with your hands, and ensure the fish is well coated.

4. Transfer the fish to the prepared tray, leaving a little space between each fillet. Season generously with salt and pepper and grill for 12 minutes (if your fillets are smaller or larger, you'll need to tweak this timing).

5. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus in boiling salted water for about 4 minutes until tender, then drain and slice in half lengthways.

6. When the fish is almost ready, melt a little extra butter in a frying pan and toss the asparagus to coat, seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary.

7. Divide the asparagus among the plates, and plate the fish. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

*Tip: When asparagus is at its best, simply boiling it in well-seasoned water, before tossing it quickly in butter before serving, is pretty hard to beat.