roast salmon with fennel rocket & potato salad

Well congratulations, we have made it through the madness of Christmas, and are now out the other side and ready to  hit 2015 running  – woo hoooooooo!!!! I am so lucky to have had the most incredible year, having taken the risk of going freelance and then having the opportunity to work for Dish magazine, Simon Gault, Yahoo, Tourism Australia and Mindfood. My most recent association is with the lovely people at Fairfax and I contribute two recipes fortnightly for their regional newspapers – and these are the ones for today, perfect to whip up for New Year’s Eve. Seriously, the salmon is incredibly easy and looks so flash, and the fennel salad is the perfect foil for that rich salmon flavour – aniseedy fennel, peppery rocket, sweet orange, lemon and currants – people will be impressed, I promise! I served the salmon and salad with little soft rolls at Christmas drinks and it went down a treat. Thank goodness we had both the boys at home for that, I’ll be missing young Richard (aka Hoobie/) at New Year as he will be celebrating with Miss Lily in Wanaka, but we will have Henry (aka Pog) and Josh here on Waiheke with us so hurrah! However you are celebrating, stay safe, have fun and see you next year!!!!!!!!! :)PS – for some reason I don’t understand my pics appear lower res on the blog – to see them properly just click on them, not on the PIN IT sign, for a closer, sharper look! Any techies out there, I’d love it if anyone knows the cause 🙂

2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup boiling water
cold water (enough to cover salmon)
1 side of salmon, mine weighed 1.1 kilos
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
finely grated zest of a lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped fennel fronds
freshly ground black pepper

Yoghurt Herb Sauce:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1  cup plain Greek yoghurt
¼ cup good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh fennel fronds
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh mint
1 small clove garlic crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper2 lemons, cut into wedges, to serve

This is so simple, but looks impressive and tastes delicious! First lay the salmon flat and run your fingers down the fattest part of the fish – if you feel the tips of bones poking out, grab yourself some tweezers and pull (in the direction that they are poking out, so as to keep things neat) to remove the bones.  Put the salt in a big flattish dish, big enough to lay the salmon in flat, and be completely submerged in water. Put the salt into it and dissolve by whisking in the boiling water. Top up with cold water and leave to cool. (I threw some ice cubes in to speed up the process). Add the salmon and leave in the brine for 30 minutes – this will help to stop the milky white fat from rising to the top of the salmon while cooking. Preheat the oven to 220˚C. Line a tray with baking paper. Remove salmon from the brine and pat dry. Lay skin-side down on the baking paper. Mix oil with garlic and zest and brush over the salmon flesh. Drizzle with lemon juice then sprinkle with fennel fronds and black pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes – I did 12 for mine, but if your salmon is bigger, add a few minutes, but be careful, you really don’t want to over-cook it! (For one massive, fat one I did that was 1.5kilos, 20 minutes was spot on). Leave to rest while preparing the sauce, then serve with lemon wedges, yoghurt herb sauce and fennel, rocket and potato salad.

 Put all sauce ingredients in a small food processor and whiz to combine.  Serves 6.

Fennel, Rocket & Potato Salad:
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
finely grated zest of ½ orange
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons currants
500g jersey benne potatoes or similar
3 small/medium fennel bulbs
2 cups wild rocket leaves
¼ cup toasted pine nuts


Whisk together lemon and orange juices, orange zest, oil, salt, pepper and currants. Cook potatoes in salted boiling water for 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain well and leave to cool. Trim stalks and woody base off fennel bulbs and remove any tough outer layer, reserving a few fronds. Slice very finely, using a mandolin if you have it. Layer rocket, fennel and potatoes onto a serving plate and drizzle with dressing and currants. Garnish with pine nuts and fennel fronds and an extra grinding of black pepper to serve. Serves 6



  1. My boyfriend and I just made this for dinner tonight … amazing!! A filling and healthy meal with bright, fresh flavor. Only thing we changed was we sauteed fennel in a pan for a few minutes before adding to the potato salad. Thanks for sharing!

  2. We made this at the weekend and it was amazing and oh so easy. In fact it was so lovely it convinced our 2 year old to give fennel a go after eating about a quarter of the side of salmon by himself. Good job 🙂

    1. Hi Rebecca – thanks so much for your lovely message, and crikey good effort from your son – awesome! 🙂

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