Baked Salmon with Apple Purée and Fennel Salad


Photo by Michael Piazza / Styled by Catrine Kelty

We eat a lot of fish at home, and in the fall this is a great go-to preparation for salmon. Don’t use an apple that is too sweet; something that is a little tart, like Cortland, Pippin, or Winesap, can really make the seafood shine. This apple purée can be used with poultry or pork as well as the salmon. Cut the fennel and apple at the last minute before dressing with the lemon juice and olive oil so nothing turns brown, and if you save a few of the fennel fronds you can add them to the salad for a nice garnish.

Serves 4

4 7-ounce pieces of skinless salmon filet
extra virgin olive oil
2 large Granny Smith apples
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 small head fennel, shaved very thin
12 leaves Italian parsley, chiffonade
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 300°. Arrange the salmon on a baking dish, pink side up, and brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.

Peel and cut 1½ apples into thick slices, reserving the last half for the fennel salad. Heat the butter until it begins to lightly brown, then add the shallots and apple slices. Let the apple and shallots cook until they begin to brown lightly, then add the wine and bring to a quick boil. Add the cream and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon zest. Remove from the heat and purée in a blender until smooth (the purée should be thick enough to stay in place on a plate; if it is too thin, return it to the pan and reduce it slightly to thicken).

Spread the purée on the bottom of a warm serving platter and arrange the cooked salmon on top. Julienne the remaining apple and mix with the shaved fennel, parsley, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place a little salad on top of each portion of salmon and serve.

This recipe appeared in the Fall 2015 issue.