Pan Roasted Salmon with a Crispy Caper and Herb Topping Over Creamy Fennel Puree with a Side Citrus and Fennel Salad


Pickled Fennel:
1 bulb fennel, trimmed
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (1 small orange)
2 tablespoons orange juice (1/2 orange)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 cups baby arugula
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 apple, such as Pink Lady, diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


For the pickled fennel: Quarter the fennel bulb and cut out the core. Slice thinly across the fiber into quarter circles. In a medium bowl, toss together the fennel, salt, orange zest, orange juice and cider vinegar. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. At this point, the fennel is ready to use or it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

For the salad: In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, olives, apples, pickled fennel with its juices, and olive oil. Toss gently with your hands or a wooden spoon.

Fennel Puree to serve under Salmon:
1 large bulb fennel (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons lowfat plain Greek yogurt, such as Fage
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus for the cooking water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Four 6-ounce skinless center-cut salmon fillets
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Topping for the salmon:
1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons Crispy Capers, recipe follows
Lemon wedges, optional
Crispy Capers:
3 tablespoons capers, drained, rinsed and dried very well
Vegetable oil, for shallow frying

Fennel Puree:

For the fennel: In a medium saucepan, cover the fennel with cold salted water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer. Cook until very tender, about 10 minutes. Drain well and place in a food processor. Add the olive oil, yogurt and salt. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.

For the salmon: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with the salt. Place the fillets in the pan, flesh-side down, and sear undisturbed for 3 to 4 minutes to create a golden brown crust. Gently flip, and cook for another 2 minutes.

Topping for the Salmon:

In a small bowl, mix together the chopped fennel fronds and parsley and the crispy capers.

To plate, spread a little of the fennel puree on each of 4 plates. Top with a salmon fillet. Place a little salad on top of each salmon. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top if desired. Serve immediately.

Crispy Capers:

Heat 1/4-inch vegetable oil in a small, straight-sided skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers when swirled. (You can make sure the oil is hot enough by adding one caper to the oil; if it immediately starts to sizzle and pop, the oil is hot enough.) Add the capers to the hot oil and fry until they have popped open and turned golden brown and crispy, about 1 minute. With a slotted spoon, remove the capers to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.


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