Fish with Fennel and Tomato

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This is an oldie, but a goodie! Just made this again this weekend and was reminded of how wonderful I few simple ingredients can be!

Someday, I am going to retire and move to Italy. In my mind, that retirement includes doing yoga on the sunny balcony of an apartment in Cinque Terre, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. And shopping in the weekly market to buy fresh cheese and produce and local olives, capers, tomatoes and fish. And socializing with the other local old people who gather at the market. That image often helps me get through the most stressful workdays and puts a smile on my face in the most tiresome meetings. It’s my mental happy place.

This recipe may become the tangible representation of my idyllic dream. A culinary happy place. With some fresh fish from Locals Seafood, local fennel, local tomatoes we froze whole over the summer and parsley and thyme from our garden, this is a quick, summertime winner. If you want to grill your fish, you could do that and make the sauce in a separate dish–easy!

Fish with Tomato and Fennel (4 servings)

  • 4 fish fillets (we used local Spanish Mackerel)
  • 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves organic garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup unpitted olives (optional)
  • 1/4 cup capers, rinsed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian, flat leaf parsley
  • Kosher or sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the fennel and cook without browning until it is soft (about 15 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Add the thyme and garlic and cook an additional 1 minute. Stir well.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, olives and capers to the pan. Raise the heat a bit and cook until the mixture is thick, but not dry (about 15 minutes depending on how much liquid your tomatoes hold). Reserve and keep warm.
  4. Cook fish to your preference (I pan seared ours, but grilling would be great also).
  5. Plate the fish and top with the tomato and fennel sauce. Garnish with parsley.
  6. Pour yourself a glass of wine, inhale the delicious aroma and dream…
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Chili Dusted Salmon with Fig Glaze

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Sounds fancy, doesn’t it?

Here’s the deal. I’m on a mission to find creative ways to use some of the preserves, jams, salsas and pickles we put up last summer. Sure, sure, homemade jam on fresh bread or on a toasted bagel is hard to top. And tomato salsa is great on almost anything. But now that I’m past my “Oh my gosh, we’re going to run out of food!” craziness, I can relax and have fun with what we created. Like this dish. Have you ever eaten salmon with figs? I hadn’t, but I will again!

I was in Whole Foods buying turmeric capsules (more on that later) and tried a sample of a salmon dish. It was so good! Sweet and spicy, but with lots of nice salmon flavor. Wouldn’t I like to buy their special Whole Foods spicy rub? Or some gourmet fig preserves? Or salmon? I started to consider it (I am such a sucker), when I had a revelation. I had ALL of those things in my house already! Yay for me! Out of Whole Foods without spending more than I needed to AND a great idea for supper 🙂

This dish is super, super easy. If you can turn on your broiler, you can make this. We used a large, wild caught, American salmon filet. It was ginormous. You could do this with salmon steaks as well–you’ll need to adjust the cooking time, but otherwise it’s all the same. We even used the rest of our homemade Cajun seasoning from our Family Gras jambalaya, but you could use store-bought as well.

Chili Dusted Salmon with Fig Glaze (4 servings)

  • 1 large, wild caught salmon fillet about 1-1 1/2″ thick (or you could do 2 smaller fillets)
  • 1 tbsp. Cajun seasoning (see recipe HERE)
  • 3/4 cup of Sticky Fig Jam (see recipe HERE) or store bought fig preserves
  1. Bring salmon fillet or steaks to room temperature.
  2. Line a broiler pan with foil and turn your broiler to high. Adjust your oven rack to allow 3-4 inches between your broiler and the fish.
  3. Dust the salmon liberally with the spice mixture and put fish on the broiler pan.
  4. Broil the salmon for 5 minutes. Remove from oven.
  5. Cover the salmon with the fig preserves and broil for 2 minutes more. Watch and make sure the figs don’t scorch.
  6. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

We served our fish with vegetarian collard greens. For the first time, I made collards without any bacon or meat and they were pretty fabulous.

Collard recipe to come tomorrow!

 

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