Week 16, Meal 2: Super salmon bowl

I love Fat Dude cooking nights where I come away from the kitchen feeling like I put together something that people would pay big bucks for at a fancy restaurant.

Week 16, Meal 2: Fennel Crusted salmon over braised fennel, onion, and carrot with roasted fingerlings is one of those dishes. Though it didn’t take much work to put it together, the sweet, light broth and assertive fennel/pepper mix make this a quick fish dish to keep on hand when you’re looking to impress with both flavor and presentation.

Follow the jump to see how the magic happened.

The Recipe (Yield: 2 servings)

1 t vegetable oil
2 5-6 oz pieces salmon
2 t fennel seed
2 t black peppercorns

Braised vegetables
1 1/2 t olive oil
1 bulb fennel (fronds picked and reserved, bulb very thinly sliced with mandoline or knife 1/8 inch)
1 yellow onion, very thinly sliced (1/8 inch)
1 large carrot, thinly sliced (1/8 inch)
1/3 c white wine
3 c chicken stock
salt, to taste
fennel/pepper mixture, to taste

Roasted fingerling potatoes
6-8 small fingerling potatoes, halved
1 1/2 t vegetable oil
salt and pepper, to taste

Two components of this dish are based off a fennel and black pepper mix, so it’s best to make that first.  In a small saute pan toast the 2 t of fennel seed until fragrant. Crush with 2 t of black peppercorn in a blender, Magic Bullet or with a mortar and pestle. Reserve 1/2 spice mix for veges.

Next, prep the veggies. Use a mandolin to slice 1 bulb of fennel, 1 yellow onion and 1 large carrot to 1/8-inch-thick slivers.

In a large pot heat 1 1/2 t oil over medium-high heat. Add fennel, onions and carrots and sweat until fragrant. Deglaze with 1/3 cup of white wine and cook for 1 minute.

Add 3 c of chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook until veges are very tender, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and spice mixture.

Slice 6-8 fingerling potatoes lengthwise in half. In a large saute pan, heat 1 1/2 t of oil over a medium-high heat. Completely coat the bottom of the pan with the oil. Place the potatoes cut side down in the pan and cook until the cut side is golden brown. Place in the oven and roast until potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Cut side should be super crispy when finished.

Now, I know you’re expecting a pretty picture of the salmon getting cooked, but I totally forgot to take one, so you’re just going to have to use your imagination. Sorry about that, y’all.

Season 2 5-6 oz. pieces of salmon with salt and fennel/pepper mixture only on top (non-skin side — I removed the skin on my filets).

In a medium saute pan heat 1 t of oil. Saute on fennel/pepper side until you get a nice golden brown color. Turn off the heat in the pan and flip the fish. Let sit in the pan until the salmon is cooked to medium.

To plate: In a large shallow bowl put down braised vegetables with a nice amount of the broth. Place roasted potatoes, cut side up on top of the veggies so it creates a platform for the salmon. Put the salmon on top and and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.

The pepper/fennel mix is spicy and spiced while the veggies, particularly the fennel and onion, mellow out during the braise. The thin slice ensures each bite melts in your mouth. The fish adds the savory element to tie together all of the sweetness and slight licorice flavor. Quite a meal.

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