Coriander and Fennel Baked Salmon

Hidden Freezer Treasure
My freezer, while being useful, is a place where a food hoarder like myself (but it was on sale!) can stow away many treats for a rainy day.  I went downstairs the other day to find a small pool of water on the ground in front of the freezer.  Slight wave a panic and nausea as I imagined my treasures thawing and dying a slow painful death.  This cannot be.  We quickly sprung into action.  My husband went to buy bags of ice and I did some triage of the freezer contents.   Several garbage bags later (no judgements please), we had whittled down the contents of the freezer to three coolers packed with ice.  During the adventure I found a side of salmon that was the result of our fishing trip to BC a couple of years ago.  I decided to make it for supper today after a great camping weekend - some clean eating after a weekend of mild debauchery.

Pin boned and trimmed

The preparation for this dish is simple.

Coriander and Fennel Salmon - serves 6

1 side of pacific salmon, skin on (see note below)
1 tb olive oil

Coriander & Fennel Rub:
1 tb coriander seed
1 tb fennel seed
1 tb coarse salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp grated lemon zest

Fennel and coriander seeds

Liberally season the fish - select how coarse you want the mixture

To prepare the salmon, I removed it from the shrink wrap,  then removed the pin bones, trimmed some of the belly fat off (chef's treat for later), rinsed it off (to remove any errant scales) and patted it dry with a clean kitchen towel.

Next, in a mortar and pestle (or electric spice grinder), grind all the rub ingredients together to a coarse texture and set aside.  Rub the olive oil onto the salmon then sprinkle all the rub onto the fish and lightly press to make sure it adheres to the surface of the fish.  Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Then, take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking (but up to one hour) to let it come closer to room temperature - this helps to ensure more even cooking.

Preheat the oven to 425F and cook the fish for about 4 minutes per inch.  You can use a thermometer to check - the temperature should be about 145F.  This side of salmon took 8 minutes.

Note:  Yes, you can use Atlantic salmon, and it can be skinless.  I decided to leave the skin on as it provides a little extra moisture during cooking.

Served over spaghettini sautéed with spinach, tomato, onion, garlic and anchovies.
The salmon was cooked as I like it - moist and delicious.  Each bite provided a little pop of fennel or coriander, delectable notes of lemon and liquorice.  I don't like the taste of liquorice, but it works so well with the salmon and the coriander.   A keeper.  As an aside, the salmon showed no signs of degradation.  It was as fresh as the day we caught it.

P.S.:  Everything that was packed in ice survived (for three days) and so did our freezer.  We've just given it some room to breath.  Now, to resist a good sale...

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