Bay Leaf Wrapped Salmon
I browsed through the new Bon Appétit a week or so ago and I must say I was really impressed. I think it was maybe the best issue I’ve seen so far this year. Lots of really interesting recipes in it and cool summer time party ideas. If you don’t subscribe already, this issue might be worth a look the next time you are browsing the magazine section or something.
This was a dinner that I made using a salad and salmon dish out of the magazine. Absolutely delicious and darn healthy!
This salmon is packed with flavor because it is actually cooked wrapped in fresh bay leaves and lemons. The wrapping keeps it super moist and the flavor of the bay leaves is really incorporated into the salmon but not in an overpowering way. As always, I don’t recommend buying the farm raised stuff. It isn’t worth the few bucks in savings in my opinion.
Bay Leaf Wrapped Salmon
Yield: Serves 4.
Fennel and Arugula Salad (From Bon Appétit)
1 large fennel bulb or two small/medium sized bulbs
5 Ounces washed arugula
1/2 Cup pitted Kalomata olives
1-2 Cups Shaved Parmesan
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 Teaspoon anchovy paste (I didn't include this because I was sharing the salad with a vegetarian and it was fine.)
1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 packages fresh bay leaves
5 lemons, sliced into thin rounds
1.5-2 pounds center cut salmon
1) Prepare the fennel: chop off the green stems and the root end and then slice down the middle.
2) There will be a small semi-leafy core in each bulb that you should cut out with a paring knife. Then turn the 1/2 bulb so it is flat (face-down) on the cutting board and dice horizontally to make the slivers.
3) Add these slivers to your arugula and olives (which should just be sliced in half and de-pitted if they have pits).
4) In a separate bowl, whisk together your dressing ingredients and then add that to your salad. Top the salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and some crushed black pepper. You can make this an hour or so in advance if you want.
5) Wrap salmon in bay leaves and place in grilling basket.
6) On a medium heat grill, cook about 15-20 minutes per side or until the skin is crisp and the internal temperature is 135 degrees.
My fennel bulbs were a bit smaller than normal so I went with two of them. Also, I freakin’ love the stuff so I wasn’t worried about having too much. To prepare, chop off the green stems and the root end and then slice down the middle.
There will be a small semi-leafy core in each bulb that you should cut out with a paring knife. Then turn the 1/2 bulb so it is flat (face-down) on the cutting board and dice horizontally to make the slivers.
Add these slivers to your arugula and olives (which should just be sliced in half and de-pitted if they have pits).
In a separate bowl, whisk together your dressing ingredients and then add that to your salad. Top the salad with shaved Parmesan cheese and some crushed black pepper. You can make this an hour or so in advance if you want.
Ok. This salmon was delicious but I paid quite the price (in pain) for it that you can easily avoid. The original recipe calls to wrap the salmon in fresh bay leaves and lemon and then grill the whole package. I, however, do not have a grill handy, so I decided to try it in the oven. This was a mistake.
Turns out that bay leaves are very strong. I actually knew this, but it just didn’t occur to me that if I was cooking 50-60 bay leaves, the fumes created by that might burn like Hades. That is one reason why doing this outside on a grill is a fantastic idea!
But if you think you can handle the fumes then by all means try it in the oven I guess. Let me warn you though. It is not worth it. My nose and eyes burned for like two hours.
For the prep on this guy, I must admit that mine was a bit sloppy. Trust me trust me trust me. If you were actually grilling this fish, you would need to have a fish grilling basket to keep everything contained.
Also, I thought the best way to show how to prepare this for cooking is to do a little animated piece.
I’m not even going to tell you what temp to cook this in the oven because it seriously shouldn’t be done. On a medium heat grill through, it should take about 15-20 minutes per side or until the skin is crisp and the internal temperature is 135 degrees.
It will probably look much better than this:
The second reason why this dish would be much better on the grill is that the skin on the salmon would get very crisp. That didn’t really happen in the oven.
Once I got past the intense bay leaf fumes, the salmon was actually delicious. It was moist and flaked apart. Even though the bay leafs were really strong, the salmon only had a hint of bay leaf flavor. The salad was killer also. The arugula and fennel paired perfectly with the fish.
The moral of the story: If you have a grill and want to try something original, this is a good dish. In the name of everything sane, do not try this indoors!