Fennel-crusted Wild Sockeye Salmon
braised in a San Marzano tomato , white wine, and spinach sauce and served with brown rice, topped with Parmagiano Reggiano and fresh thyme.
The spices! Ground fennel seed, Spanish Paprika, Breadcrumbs, Pepper, and Sea Salt
The whole plate, with fresh flowering thyme.
The salmon before cooking in the sauce:
An original creation - I love love loved the fennel with the salmon - I was quite pleasantly surprised by the way it goes with it!
This was also my first time filleting a whole fish - it was so cheap, so why not! I definitely am no fishmonger yet...it was pretty ugly. Luckily I boiled the bones and the meat I accidentally left on for a stock and added it back into the sauce, so nothing was wasted.
Fennel is a nice earthy spice, made from the seeds of flowering fennel. A lot of people don't realize can actually be put in more than sausage. The dry seed, when eaten like sunflower seeds, is a nice and spicy breath freshener in India, and actually really helps cure tummy aches from overeating...something I am all too familiar with!
Fresh fennel is also amazing - try the bulb sliced and roasted in the oven with a little balsamico and olive oil.
My self critique:
In retrospect, I realized that salmon is just so good on its own, I shouldn't have braised it at all! The fennel crust by itself, maybe with some sauce on the side, would be more than adequate. However, it still came through and was quite delicious.
Also: spinach is WAY too powerful for this dish - I was trying to get some veggies in, and it wasn't terrible, but it really overtook the sauce, and also looked quite unnappetizing after half an hour in the oven...
Fennel Crust (estimated!):
4 parts breadcrumbs
3 parts dry fennel seeds, ground
1 part spanish paprika
1 part fresh cracked black pepper
Simple, but very, um, yum.
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