This Slow Roasted Salmon with Orange + Fennel is a light and bright dish that is simple to prepare and tastes as good as it looks. Low and slow roasted salmon turns soft and buttery, while the crisp fennel orange salad cuts through the richness. It’s a perfectly balanced, delicious and easy weeknight meal.
Hello! I hope you had a lovely little holiday weekend and that you’re adjusting well to the week. I had every intention to get this recipe up before the weekend, but then life happened and well, here we are. Yes, it’s spring, which means that yes, citrus season is on it’s way out. But also yes, this recipe is so good that none of that really matters.
It’s taken me a little while to come around to salmon, but something clicked this past year and now I can’t seem to get enough of it. I’ve made this dish (or a variation of it) at least 5 times so far in 2018 and I have a feeling that number is going to quadruple by December. It’s a simple recipe who’s magic lies in the low-and-slow cooking method. It’s almost like an olive oil poach that happens in the oven, and it results in salmon that is so incredibly tender, so buttery, so moist and so succulent. It tastes amazing with or without the fennel orange salad.
That said, the fennel orange salad really does bring this dish to the next level. It’s bright, crisp, acidic, and refreshing, which is exactly what the tender, fatty salmon needs. I have a low key obsession with blood oranges, and while they do have a slightly different flavor than a standard naval, this recipe will be good regardless of what kind of orange you choose to use. Same thing goes for the lemon – I love using Meyer lemons, but there’s no reason why a regular old lemon wouldn’t work here just as well. It’s really just the acid we’re after – the oranges provide some, but it’s not enough.
This recipe was inspired by this one from an old issue of Bon Appetit. The gorgeous photo had me drooling, so I made it word-for-word. It certainly wasn’t bad, but there was much room for improvement. Their recipe calls for roasting the fennel and whole slices of orange, which added nice flavor to the fish, but otherwise fell flat. There’s so much olive oil and the salmon is so rich that it’s just begging to be cut by something bright and acidic. So I opted to keep the fennel and orange raw in the form of a salad instead. It’s almost like a salsa-salad hybrid. A salsalad if you will.
This method of cooking salmon has become my absolute favorite and will now be my go-to, as long as it’s not too hot to turn on the oven (which in all honesty, hopefully happens soon). At that point I’ll start experimenting with low and slow salmon on the grill. A little smokiness is perhaps the only thing that could make this recipe taste even better.
Since citrus season is leaving us shortly, this salad could easily be adapted to use whatever fresh fruits and vegetables are in season. I’m already thinking how good this would be on the grill with fresh summer cherries and green beans or nectarines and zucchini.
I can’t believe that only a few years ago I was turning my nose up at salmon and now it’s something I actually crave. I love how our tastes change as we grow older. Who know’s what crazy new food I’ll be obsessed with this time next year, but chances are I’ll be riding the slow roasted salmon wave for a long, long time.
One Year Ago: Meyer Lemon Baked Doughnuts, French Onion Grilled Cheese
Two Year Ago: Tzatziki Sauce (Video!) + Salted Caramel Brownies
Three Years Ago: Serrano Chile Hot Sauce (Video!) + Meyer Lemon + Cardamom Tart
- 1 1 1/2-lb skinless piece of salmon OR 4 6 ounce salmon fillets
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- salt and pepper
- 2 Meyer lemons or regular lemons
- 3 large oranges, any variety
- 2-3 sprigs rosemary (optional)
- 1/2 large fennel bulb, very thinly sliced, plus some fennel fronds for garnish
- 1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Thinly slice one lemon and one orange, then arrange the slices on a large piece of parchment paper set over a sheet pan. Place the salmon on top of the citrus, then tuck a few sprigs of rosemary around and underneath (if using). Pour 1/3 cup olive oil over salmon, then season generously with salt and pepper. Fold the parchment paper up around the edges to form a loose seal - it doesn't have to be fully enclosed.
- Place the whole sheet pan in the oven and roast until just cooked through, about 25-40 minutes depending on the size of your salmon. If using individual fillets, they will cook quicker.
- While the salmon roasts, make the topping. Slice the top and bottom off of the two remaining oranges to reveal their flesh. Place them cut-side-down, then use your knife to carefully slice down the sides to remove the peel and as much white pith as possible. Turn the oranges on their sides and slice into rounds. Cut each round into halves or quarters, and move any big pieces of white membrane.
- Add the orange segments to a bowl along with the shaved fennel, red onion, and a few fennel fronds. Season with salt and pepper, then squeeze the remaining Meyer lemon over top, and drizzle with a little olive oil. Mix, then set aside until the salmon is ready.
- To serve, use a spoon to break the salmon into big pieces and distribute among the plates, leaving the citrus and rosemary sprigs behind. Spoon some of the olive oil from cooking over top along with the fennel orange salad. Garnish with more fennel fronds and serve immediately.