Quick and easy, salmon fillets, nestled on a bed of fennel, dotted with lemon and butter, baked in a pouch of parchment paper.
You can use dry white wine instead of, or in addition to, the lemon juice.
- 1 fennel bulb, sliced paper thin (a mandoline helps for this)
- 4 6-ounce portions of fresh salmon fillets (skinless is best)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon juice (to taste)
- 12 very thin slices of whole lemon (from 1 to 2 lemons)
- Several sprigs of fresh fennel fronds
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 4 12x18-inch pieces of parchment paper (can sub aluminum foil if you don't have parchment paper)
1 Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2 Lay down a square of parchment paper on a flat surface. Fold the parchment in half to create a crease, then open it up again. Place several slices of fennel bulb below the crease of the parchment paper in a mound, and sprinkle with salt. Place one fillet of salmon on top of the fennel bulb slices. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the salmon (anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon, or to taste). Sprinkle the salmon generously with salt and pepper. Lay sprigs of fennel fronds over the salmon. Lay 3 thin slices of lemon over the fennel fronds and salmon (more if you want). Or you could put the lemon sliced down first and top with the fronds, your choice. I think the slices on top look better. Dot the top with butter.
3 Fold the parchment over the salmon and secure close. There are several way that you can accomplish this. One easy and particularly attractive way is to fold a corner near the folded edge of the parchment paper into a triangle. Then about halfway down that triangle, fold another triangle over the previous triangle. Working down and around the parchment edges, you can create folds all around the edges. When you come to the last folded edge, tuck the corner under the parchment. There is an excellent video available that shows this technique here: How to Wrap Fish in Parchment. This technique works well with individual portions.
You may find it easier to wrap a large (multi serving) fillet in the following way. Arrange the fillet so that its long side is facing you, and the two shorter ends are to the left and right. Then lift up the parchment edges closest to you, and furthest from you, bring them together, and fold them over a few times. Then tuck the left and right edges under the fillet.
4 Place on a roasting pan or baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. Serve immediately. To serve, you can either carefully transfer each salmon fillet and mound of fennel slices to individual plates, or you can serve the salmon in the pouch itself, on a plate. To eat, you can either unwrap the pouch, or cut through the top with a sharp knife to expose the salmon inside.
Yield: Serves 4.