Poached Salmon And Fennel Salad Recipe

Looking for a nutritious yet light summertime meal? This delicious salmon recipe just might fill the bill. As recipe developer Jennine Rye tells us, "This recipe makes for a wonderful, elegant weekday lunch or dinner." What you get here is poached salmon, which is pretty healthy due to the healthy fats and protein it contains — plus the fact that it's not too high in mercury – accompanied by a side dish made from vitamin-rich fennel and herbs. Even the salad dressing has some health benefits, as Bryant notes that it is made with lemon juice and thus contributes vitamin C.

This summertime recipe has a refreshing and yet somewhat unusual flavor thanks to the licorice notes that appear in the poaching liquid and in the salad by way of fennel, star anise, and tarragon. You can also use this fennel salad with other dishes besides salmon. Bryant suggests it as a side for other types of fish or poultry, although it would also go quite well with pork and might be nice with cream-sauced pastas or pasta salads.

Assemble the ingredients for the poached salmon and fennel salad

To poach the salmon, you're going to be using water, plus some vinegar; Bryant favors white wine vinegar. here. You'll flavor that poaching liquid with a bay leaf plus the aforementioned star anise, some peppercorns, and some herbs.

Speaking of herbs, we're using parsley, basil, dill, and tarragon here. The leaves and fronds of these will be used for the salad, but don't discard the stems; those will go into the poaching liquid, ensuring you get the most flavor out of your ingredients.

In addition to the herbs, the salad calls for fennel as well as olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, salt, pepper, and the juice and zest from half a lemon. Just remember to zest the lemon before you cut it in half and juice it, otherwise you may have a mess on your hands.

Poach the salmon

Combine the water, vinegar, bay leaf, star anise, peppercorns, and herb stalks in a large pan and heat the liquid to a not-quite simmer for 5 minutes. Check the temperature before you put the salmon into the pan. "There should ideally be a few bubbles on the bottom of the pan and steam gently rising from the surface of the water," Bryant says. Of course, you could also use a thermometer; the proper temperature for poaching is 160 to 180 F. Higher than that, and you'll actually have boiled salmon, which might still be tasty but certainly sounds less elegant.

When the water is at poaching temperature, put the salmon in and make sure that the pieces are submerged. Cook the salmon for 5 to 6 minutes, then remove it from the water and allow it to dry as you assemble the salad.

Make the fennel and herb salad

Slice the fennel as thinly as you can. You may also wish to cut the slices in half crossways, depending on how large the fennel bulb is. Once the fennel is sliced, mix it with the herb leaves/fronds.

Make the lemon dressing

Mix the lemon juice and zest with the honey, Dijon mustard, and olive oil, then season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper. Make sure the dressing is well-combined; Bryant likes to put it in a screw-top jar and shake it, but you could also use a little whisk or a fork to stir it vigorously.

Once the dressing is seasoned and blended, pour it over the salad, then arrange the salmon pieces next to or on top of the salad. This dish can be eaten right away, but leftovers can be stored in the fridge for a couple days; the poached salmon is actually just as good served cold. If planning for leftovers, though, just try to keep the salad and dressing separated until you're ready to eat to prevent it from wilting.

Poached Salmon And Fennel Salad Recipe
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Tarragon, fennel, and star anise all contribute a subtle and refreshing licorice flavor to this light, summery meal.
Prep Time
Cook Time
salmon with salad on plate
Total time: 16 minutes
  • 4 cups water
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 star anise pod
  • 1 ½ cup mixed herbs (basil, parsley, tarragon, and dill), leaves separated from stems
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 2 4-ounce pieces skin-on salmon
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • zest and juice from ½ lemon
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  1. Combine water, vinegar, bay leaf, star anise, herb stalks, and peppercorns in a large saucepan. Allow the poaching liquid to simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the salmon to the liquid and let poach for 5 to 6 minutes, making sure that the temperature does not go over 180 F.
  3. Remove salmon from poaching liquid and set aside.
  4. Slice the fennel bulb and toss in a mixing bowl with the herb leaves.
  5. In a small bowl or jar, combine the olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey, and the lemon juice and zest.
  6. Stir the dressing vigorously; season with salt and pepper.
  7. Toss the fennel and herb mixture with the dressing and serve alongside the poached salmon.
Calories per Serving 596
Total Fat 38.5 g
Saturated Fat 7.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 62.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 42.2 g
Dietary Fiber 17.2 g
Total Sugars 14.2 g
Sodium 1,901.5 mg
Protein 28.3 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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