Thinly sliced or shaved, fennel has a subtle anise or licorice flavor, which means that people who don't like those tastes think they might not like fennel. But a lot depends on how you prepare it and what it goes with. The most common fennel is Florence fennel, which comes in the form of a bulbous root shaped from layers (something like an onion). Use the branches for flavoring soups or as a seasoning base for roasting chicken or fish; slice the bulbs thinly and toss them with olive oil. The fronds look like dill and are used as garnish. Here, fillets of salmon slow-roast for 20 minutes until the moist flesh is medium rare (and looks raw even when fully cooked). You can increase the cooking time by 20 minutes for well-done fish. Then set the salmon on a bed of fresh fennel mixed with shallot and baby bok choy, tossed with a citrus dressing, so the crunchy vegetables offset the rich fish.
|2||bulbs fresh fennel|
|1||carrot, thinly sliced on a diagonal|
|1||large onion, thinly sliced|
|3||stalks celery, thinly sliced|
|4||salmon fillets (1 1/2 to 2 pounds total)|
|1/4||cup olive oil, plus more for rubbing|
|Salt and pepper, to taste|
|Grated rind and juice of 2 lemons and 1 orange|
|1||shallot, finely chopped|
|2||heads baby bok choy|
2. Remove the branches from the fennel bulb and cut them into 2-inch pieces. Cut off the fronds and reserve for garnish; set aside the bulb.
3. On a rimmed baking sheet, layer fennel branches, carrot, onion, and celery. Place salmon on vegetables. Rub each piece of salmon with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the salmon for 20 minutes or until the center begins to flake.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl make the dressing: whisk the lemon rind and juice, orange and juice, shallots, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the 1/4 cup olive oil.
5. Cut the bok choy bulbs into thin strips; slice the leaves, keeping them slightly larger.
6. On a mandoline or with a sharp knife, cut the fennel bulbs lengthwise as thinly as possible. In a large bowl, combine bok choy, fennel bulbs, several pieces of fennel fronds, and dressing. Toss well. Divide the mixture among 4 plates; place one salmon fillet on each plate (without the carrot-celery mixture). Karoline Boehm Goodnick