A Food & Travel Blog

Fennel, Orange & Salmon Bake

06/06/2014 | By

I know one shouldn’t do this, but I frequently experiment with my new recipes on unsuspecting dinner guests. This may or may not put you off if I invite you for a meal but, in my defense, I’ve never had to throw the dinner out and order pizza. Neither have I had any gastric disasters that I’m aware of, although my friends may just be too polite to say.

Over the years my family have suffered (although NOT silently, it must be said) through every different flavour combination or ethnic cuisine that has caught my fancy – often when really all they truly want for dinner is sausages and mashed potato. Try as I might, I can’t get them excited about much that is too far out of their comfort zone, so I wait until we are sharing our table with guests. Then I hope that the kids will be too polite to screw their noses up at whatever I’ve concocted or, even better and as is more often the case these days, have all found something more interesting to do.

As I mentioned last week, I’m playing with a seasonal orange-based food theme as I use up the five kilo bag of Navels I bought at the Farmers’ Market and this dish was so good I’ve made it twice this week. The husband loves fish, but I’m not a huge fan – I find it just a bit too, well, “fishy”. However, I absolutely adore fennel (yet another thing that my fussy kids push to the sides of their plate).

Native to the Mediterranean region, but happy to put down roots almost anywhere, fennel is one of those wonderful plants that is useful from it’s delicate, feathery, green fronds, gorgeous golden flower pollen and aromatic seeds, right down to the fat white bulb at the base of the plant. It’s delightful aniseed flavour is one of the base flavours of absinthe, a once-banned drink that was also known as “the green fairy”.

The bulb is enormously versatile in the kitchen and can be stewed, sauteed, grilled, roasted or eaten raw. It pairs up particularly well with oranges and is often used raw in a salad with both orange and olives. It’s a little too cool for salads right now, but fennel is in season so I just adapted that idea, also taking the chance to use up a jar of dukkah which had been trying to catch my attention from the pantry shelf.

This is another striking, but simple dish. It’s baked all together on a tray and relies on fresh, seasonal flavours to lend it maximum impact. Just make sure you put the fennel in the oven first, giving it a chance to caramelise before you add the fish.

Fennel, Orange & Salmon Bake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main course, seafood
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 salmon fillets, skin off or on - you decide
  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced into wedges
  • 3 oranges, 2 thinly sliced, 1 halved
  • ⅓ cup of black olives
  • 50 mls olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp dukkah
  • salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Toss the fennel wedges, olives and half the orange slices with half the olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on a large oven tray and bake for approx 20 minutes or until fennel is beginning to caramelise. Remove from oven.
  3. Drizzle remaining olive oil over salmon fillets, season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the fish fillets on the fennel and orange layer, squeeze the juice from the 2 remaining halves of orange all over the fish and fennel, then sprinkle liberally with dukkah.
  5. Return to the oven for 8 minutes only.
  6. Spread the remaining orange slices over the salmon, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and serve.

 

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Comments

  1. Hotly Spiced
    07/06/2014

    I too, often cook recipes for the first time when I have guests coming for dinner. Risky business but I too have never had to throw away the food and order pizza. But I do admit, some dishes have been served under very dim lighting and washed down with tumblers of wine. The salmon dish is very colourful and it has a great combination of flavours. I love fennel bulbs and fennel seeds xx

  2. Kate
    07/06/2014

    Gorgeous winter dish – so colourful too. So much of what we eat is ‘brown’, even chocolate.

  3. Sally - My Custard Pie
    07/06/2014

    I always experiment on my guests – that’s part of the fun of having people round (less vocal than my fussy family too!). Love orange and fennel together.

  4. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    08/06/2014

    Hehe I always experiment on friends and family. One time it didn’t work out but the rest were fine. This looks like a tasty recipe indeed.

  5. InTolerant Chef
    08/06/2014

    I think this logs just lovely indeed! I love salmon, but rarely eat cooked fennel I mostly have it in my raw juices. I’ll have to give it a try this way- yummo :) x

  6. Lizzy (Good Things)
    10/06/2014

    Amanda, this sounds really delicious, such a wonderful combination of flavours!

  7. Jamie
    11/06/2014

    There really is nothing better with fish and seafood than citrus, and orange is especially wonderful adding a sweet fruitiness lemon doesn’t (I am a Florida girl where fish and citrus is abundant). And I particularly love fennel – we just don’t cook with it enough. I love this dish, Amanda!

  8. Manu
    12/06/2014

    This looks delicious! It reminds me of Sicily where we make a salad with fennel and oranges. Love the salmon in it too!

  9. My Kitchen Stories
    26/06/2014

    Well, you are not alone Amanda. i have no qualms about just seeing a picture and then recreating it for dinner guests with out even having a recipe. I love fennel and it looks quite at home with your Salmon. id let you experiment on me at any time.

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