• Salmon with Lemon Spinach Orzo and Fennel Onion Compote

    Ingredients

    Salmon confit

    Yield: 4 portions

    • Ingredients
      Amount
    • Salmon fillet, boneless, skinless
      1 lb.
    • Salt
      2-3 tsp.
    • Basil stems, bruised
      4 ea.
    • Thyme sprigs, bruised
      4 ea.
    • Bay leaves, crushed
      4 ea.
    • Garlic cloves, quartered lengthwise
      4 ea.
    • Black peppercorns
      ½ tsp.
    • Serrano chile, split lengthwise (optional)
      1 ea.
    • Canola oil
      3-3½ cups

    Fennel, parsley, and onion compote

    • Ingredients
      Amount
    • Yellow onions, sweet, julienned
      10 ea.
    • Fennel, cored and julienned, fronds reserved and chopped
      8 ea.
    • Parsley, finely chopped
      3 bu.
    • Canola oil
      ⅓ cup
    • Sea salt
      to taste
    • Black pepper, freshly cracked
      to taste
    • Lemon juice
      to taste

    Orzo

    • Ingredients
      Amount
    • Dried pasta, high quality, orzo
      2 cups
    • Spinach leaves
      2 cups
    • Heirloom tomatoes, seeded and small dice
      1 cup
    • Lemon zest
      1 tsp.
    • Parsley, finely chopped
      2 Tbsp.
    • Canola oil
      1½ Tbsp.
    • Lemon juice
      to taste
    • Sea salt
      to taste
    • Black pepper, freshly cracked
      to taste

    Method

    1. For the salmon confit: Coat the fish liberally with salt (you want to see a coating of salt on the surface); set aside. If the salmon fillets are thick, they can be left in the refrigerator overnight. If the portions are thin, leave in the refrigerator for an hour.
    2. Place the remaining ingredients in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a bare simmer for a few minutes; you do not want to brown the garlic.
    3. Brush some of the excess salt off the fish and, in batches, gently poach the in the oil. Watch the fish carefully; it can still be barely pink in the center. If it is overcooked, the texture will be more firm. Set the cooked fish aside, cool the oil, and brush it over the fish.
    4. For the fennel parsley and onion compote: Caramelize the onions in canola oil and season with salt and pepper; set them aside in the same saut pan.
    5. Place the fennel in a saucepan with just enough water to cover; bring to a simmer. Cook until tender, season with salt and pepper, and drain.
    6. Place the onions over low heat and add the fennel, parsley, and some of the chopped fronds. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
    7. For the orzo: In a large pot, bring one gallon of salted water to a boil, add the orzo and cook it until tender. When cooked, add the spinach leaves and drain well.
    8. Place the hot drained orzo and spinach leaves in a bowl and add the diced tomatoes, lemon zest, and parsley. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve hot with the salmon confit and the fennel, parsley, and onion compote.
     Note: The herbed oil mixture can be used to flavor salads after you have cooked the fish, or kept refrigerated for a week for another purpose. The vegetables and herbs may be strained out or left in the oil. The fish can be kept under the oil in the refrigerator for several days, but the texture will never be quite as good if it has not been chilled. The measurements are proportionate to the amount of fish that you have.