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You might not know it from the weather, but spring is on its way, and along with the frenzied cleaning of apartments and homes, shaking out of rugs, and stowing of wool sweaters, soon we’ll be lightening up our meals, as well, and trading in the earthy, warm dishes that comfort us in the winter months for cool, fresh tastes from new gardens. This preparation, from Real Simple magazine, is full of clean and bright spring flavors, and is excellent both warm from the oven, or at room temperature as a satisfying lunch. This serves four.

You will need:

  • 2 bulbs fennel, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, cut in half
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 3 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 6-oz. pieces wild Alaskan salmon fillet, skin removed
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 12 oz. mixed greens

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large roasting pan (I use a cast-iron skillet), toss the fennel, lemons, and garlic in a tablespoon of oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and then roast in the oven until the fennel begins to soften, around 8 – 10 minutes.

2. Rinse the fillets under cold running water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Dust them with salt and pepper and then nestle them into the fennel. Return the pan to the oven and roast the salmon until it is opaque all the way through but not dry, between 12-15 minutes.

3. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins into a small bowl and mash them to a paste. Squeeze out the lemon pulp, removing any seeds, and add the pulp and juice to the bowl with the garlic. Stir in the honey, rosemary, remaining oil, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust the seasonings accordingly.

4. Arrange the greens on serving plates, and place the salmon and fennel on the greens. Drizzle with the dressing and serve.

Recommended pairings: soft sourdough rolls or ciabatta, pomegranate spritzers, Sauvignon Blanc, black sesame crackers, sharp dry cheese.

Salmon and Fennel with Roasted-lemon Vinaigrette
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