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Poached Orange-Fennel Salmon with Dill Crème

Photo: Thomas J. Story
Total time 45 mins
Yield

Serves 6 to 8

Kristen Murray, pastry chef and owner of Maurice restaurant in Portland, learned the easy technique of oven-poaching fish in a foil pouch from her grandmother. (You'll need wide, heavy-duty foil.) The salmon works beautifully made a day ahead and served at room temperature. For a bit of green, top with fennel fronds, carrot tops, or chervil. Wine pairing: A Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon blend such as Château Villa Bel-Air from Graves, France (2013; $23). Elegant and floral, with the right balance of richness, body, and acidity to match the salmon.

Ingredients

  • 1 king salmon fillet with skin (2 to 2 1/2 lbs. and about 1 in. thick; cut from tail end), pin bones removed*
  • Zest and juice of 1 large orange
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced crosswise, separated into rings
  • 1 small, tender fennel bulb, trimmed and very thinly sliced on a diagonal, a few feathery leaves reserved (or use torn carrot tops)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dry white vermouth, such as Dolin
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • About 1 tsp. flake sea salt, such as Maldon, divided
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 5 juniper berries, crushed with fingers
  • Paper-thin radish slices (2 or 3 radishes)
  • Dill Crème

Nutrition Information

  • calories 448
  • caloriesfromfat 68 %
  • protein 26 g
  • fat 34 g
  • satfat 10 g
  • carbohydrate 7.6 g
  • fiber 2.5 g
  • sodium 473 mg
  • cholesterol 99 mg

How to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 325°. Cut a sheet of 18-in.-wide heavy-duty foil three times as long as salmon and center it on a rimmed baking sheet, letting ends hang over. Set salmon, skin side down, on foil. Sprinkle fish evenly with orange zest, shallot, and fennel bulb. Bring corners and sides of foil up around salmon to make a canoe with 2-in. sides.

  2. Pour orange juice into a glass measuring cup and add vermouth to make 3/4 cup. Microwave until steaming (about 170°) and pour evenly over fish. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. oil and sprinkle evenly with 1/2 tsp. salt, the pepper, coriander, and juniper berries. Tightly roll ends and sides of foil together to create a pouch.

  3. Bake salmon until cooked through three-quarters of the way from edge to center of thickest part (which will still look wet; open foil and cut fish to check), 12 to 25 minutes, depending on thickness.

  4. Slide two long metal spatulas under fish and carefully transfer to a long platter (Murray likes to use a madeleine pan), leaving poaching liquid behind. Sprinkle radishes, about 1/2 tsp. salt, and remaining 1 tbsp. oil over fish. Scatter torn fennel fronds on top. Serve with Dill Crème.

  5. *Ask a fishmonger to remove bones, or do it yourself, using fish tweezers or pliers.

  6. Make ahead: Through step 3, up to 1 day, chilled; bring to room temperature.

Cook's Notes

Nutritional analysis is per serving with 1/4 cup Dill Crème.