Monday, September 6, 2010

Celebratory Salmon Dinner

This Sunday, Linda Castleman from the Salmon People was grilling fresh salmon at the Fairmount Neighborhood Farmers Market. A fresh salmon filet was just what I was looking for to prepare a belated anniversary dinner. Due to poor planning, my husband and I spent our wedding anniversary this year on a seven hour cross-country plane trip with two cranky kids. We were due for something a little more celebratory and romantic. And easy. I didn't feel like lighting up a whole grill, so I thought I'd try a salmon preparation I read about where you sear the salmon on both sides in a hot skillet and then finish it in a low temperature oven. I love fish with fennel, so I decided to use both fennel seeds for the searing and some fennel fronds for the oven cooking.

I sprinkled the filet generously with fennel seeds, cracked black pepper, and salt.

Just one minute per side in a hot cast iron skillet was enough to give the fish a nice crust.

In a 300 degree oven for 20 minutes, it soaked up some fennel and lemon flavor, until it was just pink in the center (~110 degrees with an instant read thermometer).

This salmon is so fresh that it tastes delicious anyway you prepare it, but the searing followed by low heat in the oven gave it an especially nice crust with a moist interior. We enjoyed it with SLO Farm fingerling potatoes and a refreshing salad of Lonesome Whistle Farm golden Poona Khera cucumber in yogurt. 

Seared Salmon with Fennel

1 salmon filet
1 tsp fennel seeds
generous sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, sliced
A few fennel fronds

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

2. Heat an oven-safe skillet on the stovetop until it is very hot.

3. Sprinkle salmon filet with fennel seeds, pepper, and salt. 

4. Heat olive oil in skillet. Sear salmon, skin side up for one minute. Flip and sear for one more minute. Cover filet with fennel fronds and lemon slices and transfer to oven.

5. Cook for about 20 minutes until the middle is still pink (about 110 degrees on an instant read thermometer).
Serves two.

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