Citrus Salmon with Fennel
With a slightly sweet and zippy marinade, Citrus Salmon with Fennel is fancy enough for a special dinner but easy enough to throw together on a regular ol’ weeknight. Plus, it has fennel!
I know what you’re thinking: fennel is what makes sausage taste like sausage. Actually, it is the dried fennel seed that is a must in Italian sausage made in North America. And yes, I associate it with sausage, too.
However, fresh fennel bulbs aren’t the same thing as fennel seeds. The fennel plant consists of a large, dense white bulb that grows above the ground. From the bulb grow rigid green stems that are topped by wispy, feathery green fronds.
The fennel plant produces flowers, which in turn produce teeny tiny fruits called schizocarps. When they dry, these tiny fruits split into individual fennel seeds. These aromatic seeds are crushed, ground, or added whole to sausages, spaghetti sauce, and other dishes.
I think I will start saying “I’m adding the schiz now” every time I use fennel seeds.
Wait! This recipe doesn’t even use fennel seeds. We are using the fennel bulb, the white part.
What does this taste like? When raw, the sliced bulb is crunchy like celery but not as watery. It has a slight anise flavor, is kinda bitter, and has some vanilla-y undertones.
When cooked, fennel becomes a little more mellow and is a nice addition to chicken, pork, and seafood dishes. The texture is soft and similar to sauteed onions.
Don’t throw out the green tops! The wispy green fronds are fresh and grassy tasting with a definite anise flavor. They make a nice garnish for whatever dish you are making.
In this recipe, the fennel is the star vegetable and pairs nicely with the salmon and citrusy marinade. I garnished the finished dish with the fennel fronds for extra color and freshness.
- Don’t overcook the salmon. I think one of the reasons that so many people don’t like fish is because 95% of the time it is overcooked and dry with hard edges. High heat and a short cook time is the key.
- Don’t freak out that the fennel is hard. You are giving it a quick saute, kind of a precooking, before finishing it in the oven alongside the salmon.
- A nice bread to go with this: Ligurian Focaccia.
Many thanks to Feasting at Home for the roasted pomegranate salmon recipe inspiration.Print
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
Fish and veg:
- 1 lb salmon filet
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large fennel bulb, sliced thin
- 2 shallots, sliced
- ½ cup white wine
- Garnish: fennel fronds, thinly sliced orange
- Preheat the oven to 400F/204C. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Place the salmon on the prepared sheet.
- Make the marinade by combining all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until they are incorporated. Pour the marinade evenly over the salmon and set it aside to marinate.
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the fennel and shallots until they soften, about 5 minutes. Tip in the wine and cook until it evaporates.
- Scatter the fennel mixture around the salmon on the baking sheet. Add fennel fronds if desired. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until done, but not overdone. It will continue to cook once you pull it from the oven.
- Garnish with fennel fronds and fresh orange slices before serving.
Keywords: citrus salmon with fennel