Sunday, February 14, 2010

Poached salmon with fennel and orange

This dinner was tastier than I expected. Hindward viewing being what it is, I would make sure the fennel is very finely sliced, separating the little arches as necessary, to create a thinner more uniform effect. If you can get one with a nice bunch of those dill-like leaves still attached, I think they'd make an excellent addition.
I didn't bother to totally de-membrane the orange, a) because I think that's more of a pain in the patoot than a quick Sunday night dinner warrants and b) because I was using a mineola orange, which doesn't lend itself well to de-membraning (which sounds like something you'd do to an alien, but anyhoo).

I poached the salmon. It was good that way. If you insist upon grilling it or broiling it or pan-frying it, more power to ya.

I halved this recipe (mostly because I'd already used half the one fennel bulb I had in another recipe.)

Adapted from the January 2010 edition of Bon Appetit, p. 50.

1/4 c. sugar (I used half of this and it was fine. Just fine. Thank you.)
1/4 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
2 whole star anise*
4 c. cold water (why you need this much is beyond me. I used the amount of two coffee cups, which is considerably less than 4 cups)
1 1-pound salmon fillet with skin (or without skin. Whatever.)
2 navel oranges
1 cup small fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Place sugar, vinegar, star anise, and cold water in a large deep skillet. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to boil over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Admire the pretty star anise spinning in the boiling water.
  • Add salmon fillet, skin side up, to skillet (or whatever side you pull out of the package, in the event that your salmon, like mine, has been flayed. What an interesting and kind of gross word, nay?)
  • Cover skillet and remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, turn salmon over; cover and let stand until salmon is just opaque in center, 5 to 6 minutes longer. Remove salmon from liquid and cool.
  • OPTIONAL: Coarsely flake salmon into medium bowl, removing bones and skin; set aside. I didn't do this. I served the fennel stuff on top of my fillets. But then I wanted more of a "this is actually dinner not some frouffy salad-y" feel to the dish. You might like the frouff.
  • Cut top and bottom 1/4 inch off each orange. Stand 1 orange on 1 flat end. Using small sharp knife, cut off peel and white pitch. Working over large bowl, cut between membranes, releasing segments into bowl. Repeat with remaining orange.
(OMG you guys I so didn't do that.)
  • Add salmon, fennel, mint and olive oil. Gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
*Star-shaped seedpods that make you wonder if they're actually alien. Score two for me for mentioning aliens twice in the same recipe.

I served this with herbed parsnip mash and sauteed spring greens, which officially made the whole thing disgustingly healthy. Also, this is not a good representative photo, since the salmon's buried under the fennel stuff. But you're out of luck, because the subject matter is now being digested.

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