Monday, April 4, 2011

Salmon with Fennel

If you've been reading for any time you know about our affection for the Contessa. No, not this one...

This one...

And despite her recent troubles, she's still our go-to girl for reliable recipes. We rarely find a stinker in the mix.

Sunday night we tried her Salmon with Fennel (Jason's new favorite vegetable).

Ingredients (feeds 10-15 people, so scale down to your needs)

  • 1 (10 pound) fresh salmon (or, if you're like us and the thought of buying a whole fish with head and tail kinda creeps you out, just get a nice, long, thin salmon fillet)
  • 5 cups sliced yellow onions, 1/4-inch thick (3 pounds)
  • 5 cups sliced fennel bulbs, 1/4-inch thick (3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup good olive oil (haha, that makes me laugh. as if you'd use "bad" olive oil!)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fennel fronds
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Have the fishmonger cut the head and tail off the salmon and butterfly it, removing all the bones. (eww! ... see note above)You should have about 7 pounds of salmon.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Saute the onions and fennel in the olive oil for 10 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the thyme leaves, fennel fronds, orange zest, orange juice, salt, and pepper and saute for 5 more minutes, until the onions and fennel are tender. Taste for salt and pepper.

Lay the salmon, skin side down, on a cutting board and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper. Spread the fennel filling over half of the salmon. Pull the other half up and over the filling, enclosing it. Tie the salmon every 2 inches with kitchen string to secure the stuffing. (if you're using a regular fillet, just cut it in half, load up with filling, then place 2nd half on top)

Place a sheet pan lined with parchment paper in the oven for 5 minutes to heat it. Carefully transfer the salmon to the hot sheet pan and bake it for exactly 30 minutes (10 minutes for each 1-inch of thickness). Do not overbake! (note: we thought FOR SURE that at 15 minutes our salmon was done. looked done. smelled done. onions were smoking. took it out, cut into it, and ... yes, you guessed it. not done. it really does take about 30 minutes, even at such a high temperature.)

Allow to cool slightly, then remove the strings. To serve, cut into thick slices with a very sharp knife. This salmon is delicious hot or at room temperature.

And delicious served with a side of fresh strawberries, steamed broccoli, and Olivia's Ethiopian Spiced Honey Bread (recipe coming soon).

Reviews: nom, nom, nom all the way around!


  1. This sounds great. I love salmon and fennel!

  2. Alison,

    If you try it, let me know what you think. I'm a sucker for almost anything with salmon (my grandmothers salmon patties excepted... I just could never get over the little round bones that crunched in your teeth).

    be well,

  3. what is nom, nom, nom all the way around?

  4. Hey there... it's a phrase used to represent the sound of someone eating something and really enjoying it.

    Like I'm enjoying the dark chocolate, raspberry chip granola I'm currently munching on. Nom Nom Nom!

    Thanks for stopping by!