I started to work on this recipe because I wanted to become more familiar with fennel and some new fruit syrups I had bought recently. I had heard of fennel, seen it on menus, asked friends if they liked it, etc., so I decided to find a recipe that incorporated it. I stumbled upon one such recipe that included salmon and I was sold on it. Here’s my take on it.
Small PSA here for those unfamiliar with fennel. It smells and tastes like black licorice. I’ve discovered that this is a polarizing fact about this vegetable. If you hate the scent or taste of black licorice, tread carefully with fennel and this dish. However, some of that flavor fades once seasoned and braised.
- 1–2 lb(s) of salmon, either one large filet or smaller pieces
- Italian parsley (as garnish)
For the marinade:
- 3 tbsp miso
- 2 tbsp date syrup (hard to find; substitute with honey or brown sugar)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 orange, zest, and juice
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses (found it at Whole Foods)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the fennel:
- 2 large fennel bulbs
- 2 large shallots
- 1/2 cup dry white (think Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc)
- 2 tbsp golden raisins
- Olive oil (as needed)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mandolin (not necessary but useful; I got this one)
- Roasting pan (large enough to fit all the salmon; might have to slice it)
- Mixing bowl (for marinating; large enough to fit salmon, sliced or whole)
- Plastic wrap
- Chop the garlic coarsely and add it to the rest of the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix everything well.
- Add the fish, make sure it’s mostly submerged in the marinade, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes; preferably overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Slice the fennel along its height using a mandoline or very carefully with a sharp knife. Set aside the longest (best looking) pieces for the long braise.
- Heat up the olive oil on a large pan at high heat. While it warms up, chop the shallots coarsely.
- Braise the fennel and shallots: sauté them at high heat for a few minutes until they begin to caramelize. Once they start to get some mild color on them, add the salt and pepper, sauté a bit longer to mix in seasoning. Then add the 1/2 cup of dry wine and lower the heat until it’s just simmering. Can cover the pan to slow down evaporation of wine and cook the fennel longer.
- Once has evaporated, place the braised veggies at the bottom of the roasting pan. Add the marinated salmon above the fennel/shallot bed and roast at 400°F until cooked to your satisfaction. Depending on the size of the filets, it may take anywhere between 10–30 minutes, but not much longer than that. After the first 15 minutes, check every 5 minutes.
- While the salmon roasts, braise the reserved fennel. This time, keep sautéing at high heat until caramelized (brown exterior). Add salt and pepper, toss again, then add a splash and the golden raisins. Lower heat, cover and simmer until wine evaporates completely.