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Wild Spring Salmon with braised
fennel, vanilla and green olives

Recipe from Blue Water Cafe Seafood Cook Book  by executive chef Frank Pabst.

Serves 4
Braised Fennel
-2 Tbsp(30mL) olive oil
-2 bulbs fennel, trimmed and cut in 6 pieces each
-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
-3 large shallots, chopped
-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
-1 bay leaf
-1 cup(250mL) of dry, crisp chardonnay
-3 cups(750mL) of chicken stock
-24 small organic green olives, pitted
-2 roma tomatoes roughly chopped
-1 tsp(5mL) of fennel seeds
-1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped but pod reserved
-Juice of 1/2 a lemon
-2 Tbsp(30mL) chopped parsley
-12 grape tomatoes, halved
Salmon
-4 fresh, wild spring salmon fillets, 5oz each, skin removed
-2 Tbsp(30mL) olive oil, for searing salmon
-Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil for garnish

Braised fennel-
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Heat olive oil in a large ovenproof saute pan on medium heat. Add fennel, garlic, shallots, thyme and bay leaf and saute for about 5 minutes until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper.
Deglaze the pan with wine and chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir in olives and roma tomatoes. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and braise in oven for about 20 minutes until vegetables are just tender. Use a slotted spoon to transfer fennel and olives to a second oven proof pan and set them aside. Add fennel seeds and vanilla bean, both seeds and pod, to the remaining liquid and cook it on medium-high heat untill it has reduced by half, about 12 minutes. Discard the vanilla pod. Puree the braising mixture in a blender, then pass the sauce through a fine mesh seive into a clean bowl. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 F. Add parsley and grape tomatoes to the fennel and olives. Pour the sauce over the fennel mixture, toss well to combine and keep warm in the oven.

Salmon-
Heat a saute pan over high heat. Season the fish with salt and pepper, then add olive oil to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, add the salmon and sear for 2 minutes on each side.

To serve- Place three pieces of fennel in each of four large shallow bowls. Add a quarter of the sauce, then top with a fillet of salmon and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Suggested wine-
Pinot blanc from B.C. or Alsace.


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