When we were holidaying in Tuscany last month, I came across an unusual threesome, heading up the primo – or first course – list of a menu. The star ingredients were similar to the Pink Grapefruit and Leek Salad which I love to serve with fish… but different enough to spark my curiosity: Smoked Salmon with Orange and Fennel. We’re not big fans of smoked salmon, and we weren’t wanting two courses – so we didn’t try it. But the combination remained in my mind, enticingly.
We eat fresh salmon twice a week. Usually on Wednesday, when Daniele, the fishmonger, comes to our village. And then again on Tuesday morning, for breakfast. (I like routine: it’s a time-saver.) So I thought to remix the Tuscan dish with fresh salmon fillets instead of the smoked, and to make it big for a main meal instead of an appetizer. It turned out to be wonderful. Really lovely.
The citrus, tart and sweet, complements the surprising delicacy of the fennel. I removed the rind of half of an orange (I was keen to see if the serated blade on our new Victorinox Vegetable Peeler (affiliate link) was fine enough to remove the rind without the pith. It was. ?) I divided the rind in half: one half I zested on its own, and the other half I zested with parsley.
I prepared the orange over a dish so as not to lose the juice, and used the fine blade on the Kenwood to slice the fennel bulb as thinly as possible. Then I layered it all together: Fennel, orange, zest. Fennel, orange, zest. With a generous lugs of extravirgin all over and between.
I coated both sides of the salmon fillets with orange zest, so that the oils and flavours would mingle in the pan with the fat of the fish.
And then, while still warm, I flaked the cooked salmon over the fennel mix, taking out the bones and discarding the skin. Mixed it all together. And served, with more oil. Obviously.
We really talked about this as we were eating. The meal was the conversation. Does it need something? No. It is just right. Anything else would be overpowering, would be too much, would tip the balance.
It is delicate, delightful, and light. It would be gorgeous as a first course, to awaken the palate. As a main, it is fascinating. It holds you. It wants you to experience it, mindfully. It leaves you feeling nourished. And the colours are gorgeous on the plate.
Do try this, and let me know. We like subtle flavours, but you might need more.I’d be curious to know what you think, and how you work with it.
Honour to the fish!
This recipe has been shared on The AIP Recipe Roundtable.
Best wishes, looking forward to your comments, and thanks for sharing on your Social.
Best Wishes, Good Health and Happiness.
- 2 fillets of fresh salmon
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 oranges
- small bunch of parsley
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste (omit pepper for AIP)
- Using a good vegetable peeler, remove the rind (no pith) of half an orange.
- Add half of the zest to the parsley, chop very finely, and put aside.
- Chop the other half of the zest very finely, and put aside.
- Peel both oranges. Cut in half, and then slice, catching as much juice as possible.
- Using the thin slice blade on the food processor, or a sharp knife, slice the fennel as thinly as possible.
- In a bowl, layer the fennel, orange and the parsley zest, and swirl extra virgin olive oil over each layer. Put aside.
- Coat both sides of the salmon fillets with the remaining zest.
- Heat a pan, and fry the salmon, turning, until well cooked.
- Crumble the salmon over the fennel and orange, removing any bones and discarding the skin.
- Add more extra virgin, and salt and pepper to taste.