No more sad salmon for you!
I'm fairly certain I hated fish until about the age of 13, because I thought the only way one could make it was either roasted in the oven with lemon or dill for about 5000 hours or from the stuff in a tin. A bit bleak, no?
To be clear, this is not me hating on canned fish. In fact, I'll always have a soft spot for canned tuna, which very much makes me think of my southern grandmother. However, I do think fish (and salmon in particular) is super delicious when its pan-seared- and made even better when served with a creamy base of puréed parsnips and a bright blood orange and fennel slaw. Have I convinced you yet?!
To make this dish, you can either sear the fish in a non-stick or cast iron pan--both methods work well, but be aware that you may need more oil when using a cast iron vs. a non-stick (le duh Isabelle, it's in the name). For this recipe, I used sockeye salmon, but Coho and Atlantic salmon work just as well. If you can't find blood orange, navel oranges are a perfectly good substitute. The fish doesn't need much prep besides a good pat down with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture, and a hefty sprinkle of salt and pepper. All and all this diner comes together in about 35 minutes or so, and is bound to impress family, friends, or perhaps pet roommates--considering that this is 2020 after all.
Onto the recipe!
Seared Salmon with Parsnip Mash and Fennel Slaw~(serves 4-5)
- 1.5 lbs salmon filet
- 2 tbsp + 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 6 cups water
- zest of one lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
-2 leaves of sage
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced thinly
- juice of one blood orange
- 1 tbsp grainy mustard
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
-2 tbsp neutral oil of choice
- 1 tbsp half and half (optional)
-black pepper to taste
To a large pot set over medium high heat, add 6 cups of water and a hefty pinch of salt, bringing the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and add the chopped parsnips. Cover and let cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until fork tender. Remove salmon from the fridge and cut horizontally into approximately 3 inch wide pieces, yielding about 4-5 pieces of salmon depending on the size of your filet. Pat dry with a paper towel and season liberally with the 2 tbsp of salt and black pepper as desired. Set aside. Place a large cast-iron or non-stick pan on your stovetop and warm over medium high heat for one minute. Add neutral oil to the pan and let warm until oil is lightly shimmering, about one to two minutes. Reduce heat to medium and place salmon skin side down in the pan. Cook for five minutes, flip and cook for another 4 minutes or so or until the internal temperature of the salmon reads 145°F. Set aside.
Remove pan from heat and wipe down with a paper towel or kitchen towel, removing any residual pieces of salmon. Return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the garlic and sage and fry lightly until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. To a food processor or blender add the parsnips, olive oil/garlic and sage mixture, optional 1 tbsp of half and half, lemon zest, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Blend until smooth and set aside. To make the slaw combine the fennel, blood orange juice, vinegar, and grainy mustard and mix until the fennel is well coated. Plate by adding a dollop of the parsnip mash to a plate, and top with the salmon and the fennel slaw. Serve and enjoy!