Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Empty Desires

The weekend weather was warm.  Sweltering actually.   It was the kind of lazy hot day filled with humidity that encouraged hours of wading in a pool and really nothing else.  Our energy was zapped.

The dinner hour was fast approaching, but the desire to actually heat an oven or turn on a stove was completely empty. Unfortunately, so were our bellys. We had to eat. Was a chopped salad the only way to beat the heat?  This was the moment that Jamie Oliver saved me from heat stroke.

I find that food television is addictive, but only a few are really worth my time watching.  Mr. Oliver falls into this category.  He has a knack for cooking just about anything, anywhere, with fresh ingredients.  As it just so happens, I had one of his creations fresh on my mind -   grilled salmon with fennel served with a fresh yogurt cucumber sauce.   Oh, yeah! 

The grill was the key ingredient on this hot day - anything to keep the heat out of the kitchen.   The fresh chopped green salad already had a reservation, so we decided to add the salmon to make a complete and healthy dinner.   

For those of you who have never had fennel, don't be afraid of it.  Fennel has a fragrance similar to anise, but not as strong.  As it cooks, it mellows into a very subtle aroma.  It compliments the salmon in a refreshing way.  When you are looking at fennel in the produce section, make sure you buy fennel with full fronds and may your desires be no longer empty. Enjoy!

Grilled Salmon with Fennel and Yogurt Cucumber Sauce
adapted from Jamie Oliver

1 (3-pound) salmon filet
1 lemon, zest and juice
Bunch of fennel fronds
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chop the fennel fronds, taking care to use the green fronds, not the stalks.  Place in a bowl.  Zest a lemon and add the zest to the bowl.  Add the juice of the zested lemon to the bowl and combine.   
Place the salmon skin side down and, using a sharp knife, slash it evenly all over on the fleshy side, making the incisions about 1/2-inch deep.   Salt and pepper the the salmon.  Scatter the chopped fennel fronds over the salmon, taking care to stuff the slits with the fennel mixture. Rub the skin side with olive oil and drizzle the top (with the fennel mixture) with the olive oil.  

When your grill is hot,  place the salmon skin-side down. The salmon will start to cook from the bottom up and after about 4-6 minutes the skin should be beautifully golden brown. Carefully flip the salmon over and cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes on the other side until desired doneness. While it's cooking, you can gently ease the skin away from the fish if you wish.

Yogurt Cucumber Sauce

1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
Small bunch fresh oregano, chopped
Small bunch fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil

Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds, chop it up and mix it in a bowl with the yogurt. Add the chopped oregano and thyme.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over a little extra-virgin olive oil. 

Break the salmon up with a fork into 4 to 6 chunks. Serve with the cucumber yogurt sauce.  


Megan said...

This sounds do refreshing. I've never really done much with fennel but it always catches my eye in the produce department. And I love the cucumber sauce. My husband wont eat cucumbers. :(
But I will! :) Recipe bookmarked

syrie said...

I love fennel. Your idea to use it with salmon and yoghurt is fantastic. I eat a lot of salmon living in Vancouver, Canada so I'll definitely be trying this recipe.

GAdoc said...

This blog is quickly becoming one of my favorite sources of exquisite recipes and culinary ideas.

Gigi said...

I love fennel. I make a mean golden beet and fennel salad. I think next time I buy fennel, I'll get a nice piece of salmon to go with it. You have inspired me!