Whole Side of Salmon with Fennel, Lemon & Watercress-Miso Mayo

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This is an incredibly easy—but at the same time not unimpressive—dish. Delicious with some steamed potatoes and salad. I urge you to cook the salmon very briefly; the surface should be nearly raw, although just warm enough. Overcooked salmon is dry, boring, and therefore a waste. You will immediately recognize the moment of going “too far” when you see white solidified protein appearing on the surface. Since you are cooking an entire side of salmon that is uneven in thickness, you’ll cover the flatter and thinner tail end with slices of fennel and cook the salmon only briefly. You’ll be all right.

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, extremely thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, extremely thinly sliced, fronds chopped
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole (wild Alaskan) side of salmon ( pounds/1 kg)
  • Sea salt
  • A splash of white wine
  • 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, crushed, or freshly ground four-seasons peppercorns

On the Side

  • Watercress-miso mayo

Method

Prepare

Make sure that all the ingredients are ready: the sliced lemon and fennel in one bowl, the fennel fronds in a separate bowl. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Make the mayo. You can find a good recipe. If you use mayo from a jar instead, stir in some lemon juice for extra freshness. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Make

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking sheet with two amply overlapping sheets of aluminum foil with plenty of overhang. Place a sheet of parchment paper on the foil.

Brush the parchment with oil and place the salmon on top. Sprinkle with salt and divide the lemon and fennel slices over the fish. Sprinkle with the wine and pink peppercorns.

Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and cover with the foil. Thoroughly seal the edges so nothing will leak out.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 125°F (50°C) at most.

Serve the salmon whole, sprinkled with the fennel fronds, and serve the mayo in a bowl on the side.