Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Meal to Celebrate: Simple Salmon, Roasted Fennel and Potatoes, and Asparagus with Fennel-Orange Gremolata

The Handsome Spaniard and I were fortunate enough this year to be able to spend Christmas together. The trip was full of fun and frivolity all around Louisville, and there wasn't a bad day among the festivities. We were always with good friends, enjoyed some fantastic nibblies, and celebrated the holiday as we all should, with smiles and tons of laughter.

The best meal we had, in my opinion, was one that we prepared together. Dilled salmon baked in the oven, roasted fennel bulb and potatoes, and asparagus with fennel-orange gremolata. For dessert we still had a little Spanish turrón leftover...if you've never tried turrón, it comes in many forms, but the traditional one is a sweet made of almonds and honey and is so incredibly delicious.

Sounds like a lovely meal, right? It helped to be in the best company in the world, at a table set with flowers and Christmas decorations. It's the small details that make the most unforgettable moments :)

For the salmon, I followed Mark Bittman's recipe, because salmon really is something that you should keep as simple as possible, especially if it is delicious wild Alaskan salmon. I melted a few tablespoons of butter in the oven pan in a 425º oven. I threw some dill in there and let it melt with the butter for about two minutes before throwing the salmon skin-side up on the hot pan. I let that sit in the oven for about 5 minutes, at which time I removed the skin (it peeled off like a dream), flipped it over, and returned it to the oven for another couple of minutes. We like our salmon underdone, so if you like it more well then you should add a little more time.

The fennel became the star of the side show, bringing its delightful flavor and its many variations to the table. For the roasted potatoes and fennel bulbs we simply peeled and quartered red potatoes, and cut the fennel bulb, green stalks removed and fronds reserved, about the same size as the potatoes. Tossed it simply in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roasted that up for about 40 min in a 375º oven. This side stayed warm set on top of the stove while the salmon was cooking.

The asparagus received a quick sauté in olive oil over medium high heat, then I topped it for a few minutes to cook through just until tooth tender...not soggy! The gremolata I prepared was not a true gremolata because I was lacking fresh parsley, but what we did make was a perfect compliment to the asparagus. I took 1/4 cup of olive oil and mixed in the zest of 4 clementines, and the chopped fronds of the fennel...a little salt and we reached perfection. It was light, the citrus rocked out the asparagus, and it was even nice drizzled atop the roasted potatoes and fennel bulb. I used the extra gremolata on toasted bread for the next few days.

If everything is prepped and ready, this is a really easy meal to time and bring out fresh. The natural presentation is beautiful and full of color, a perfect addition to a festive table.

I hope that your holiday celebrations were as magical and wondrous as mine! As you prepare for the New Year, I hope that you have many more great reunions and meals to share.
Happy New Year!

See you in 2013!


  1. It was a wonderful dinner! Yes! I know! I am so lucky right! I will never forget this amazing day! Thank you for making life beautiful!

  2. I was remembering the first Salmon I had with my sweetie lady! It was at home in Louisville! We had an amazing Salmon for a romantic dinner that we bought at fresh market to a very nice guy! Oh! Let me tell you! It was the most amazing salmon I had ! It melted in our mouths!

    This one was not less than that! The opposite! It was wonderful! and the day ...! It was Christmas, the most special Christmas!! I will never forget that night!

    I highly recommend this dinner for a special ocasion with your lover !

    Day by day I realize how important a meal with the person you love is! Food does not taste the same! Good Food + Good Company... Probably the best ever!