My Gluten-Free Italy

My Gluten-Free Italy

Poached salmon fillets with parsley & thyme dressing and sautéed fennel // salmone bollito con salsa di prezzemolo & timo e finocchi saltati in padella

Fennel is criminally underused in the UK, but with its bright aniseed flavour and versatility (equally good served raw in a salad as it is roasted in the oven), fennel should be more of a regular on our tables. The Italians are particularly fond of fennel and you’ll often find it served alongside fish. This recipe is based on one from Katie Caldesi’s brilliant Italian Cookery Course and is probably one of my favourite ways of serving salmon. Poaching is a very healthy way of cooking fish and the result is light, fragrant, and bursting with flavour. Caldesi originally cooked whole salmon trout rather than salmon fillets, but the latter is more common in our supermarkets – I used responsibly-sourced wild salmon, much nicer than farmed. Caldesi also called for steaming the fennel, which would have resulted in a lighter dish, but fennel is absolutely gorgeous when sautéed and the edges are beginning to caramelise. Steam the fennel if you prefer. If you’re serving this dish to more than two people you can multiply the ingredients for the dressing (and salmon and fennel, of course) but keep the quantities for the stock the same.

Poached salmon fillets with parsley & thyme dressing and sautéed fennel // salmone bollito con salsa di prezzemolo & timo e finocchi saltati in padella
This is a beautiful way of cooking salmon. Poached gently in a fragrant stock, the salmon is served with sautéed fennel wedges and a zesty herb dressing.
Poached salmon fillets with parsley & thyme dressing and sautéed fennel
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20-40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the stock
  • 2 litres water
  • 1 lemon zested, peeled into strips
  • 10 black peppercorns
For the dressing
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20-40 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 sprig of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
For the stock
  • 2 litres water
  • 1 lemon zested, peeled into strips
  • 10 black peppercorns
For the dressing
  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Poached salmon fillets with parsley & thyme dressing and sautéed fennel
Instructions
  1. Start by preparing the stock. Trim the stalks and fronds from the fennel bulb and place in a wide high-rimmed frying pan or fish kettle. Add the remaining stock ingredients, along with salt, and bring to a boil. Taste for salt and add more as required.
  2. Simmer the stock for a minimum of 10 minutes, up to 30 minutes, to allow the flavours in the stock to develop, before you add the salmon.
  3. In the meantime, prepare the dressing by mixing together all of its ingredients in a bowl. Keep to one side.
  4. Trim the base from the fennel and cut in half vertically, through the root. Cut the fennel into wedges. You don't want to slice the fennel too finely otherwise you won't have enough space in your frying pan to sauté the fennel in a single layer.
  5. To cook the fennel, heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat and sauté the wedges (seasoned with salt and plenty of black pepper) for around 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until tender and beginning to caramelise. Halfway through cooking, add the leaves from a sprig of thyme and begin poaching the salmon.
  6. Gently lift the salmon fillets into the simmering stock. Be careful not to have the stock at a boil, it should only be bubbling occasionally and gently. Leave the salmon to poach for around 5-6 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.
  7. Once the salmon and fennel are cooked, you're ready to serve. Lift the salmon very gently out of the stock and plate alongside the sautéed fennel wedges. Drizzle generously with the zesty dressing. You shouldn't need to add any more salt. Buon appetito!
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