Monday, July 18, 2011

Fennel-Smoked Salmon – Over the Top Was Not Over the Top

As I was eating this fennel-smoked salmon recipe, I was also enjoying a baseball game on the radio. During a critical point in the game, one of the players was thrown out trying to take an extra base; a major blunder, which the announcer blamed on, "trying to do too much." I had to chuckle, since I had just done the same thing with the salmon.

We've done a hot-smoked salmon video before, using a simple foil tray to hold and protect the fish, but his time I wanted something more aromatic and edible. It worked like a charm. This was one perfectly cooked piece of salmon.

As I say in the video, had I just served the fish over the simple, yet wonderful tomato salad, I would have had a winner, but I tried to do too much. I thought adding the smoky, caramelized remnants of the fennel would elevate the dish to even more epic levels, but that did not happen.

The fennel was tough and stringy, and after a couple bites it was pushed aside so I could concentrate on how great the rest of the plate was. Not only did the heat seem to toughen the vegetable, but also the fact I'd sliced it with the grain made things even worse. In hindsight, the grilled fennel should have been discarded and some fresh, raw fennel should have been shaved into the salad.

I hope you give this a try, especially if you have problems with salmon sticking to your grill grates. Since the fish never touches the grill here, it's easy on, easy off. Just this feature alone makes the technique worthwhile. Enjoy!

2 salmon filets
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
1 fennel bulb (aka root, although I don't believe it's actually a root)
cold water plus a teaspoon of vinegar
For the salad:
1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
juice from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
fennel tops for garnish

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