Photo by Laura Edwards
Confiting salmon fillets in olive oil makes their flesh extravagantly tender and silky. Most confiting takes place over low heat on the stovetop, but here I use the oven, which makes the recipe relatively hands-off once you've got everything arranged in the pan.
- 4 servings
- 2 limes
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 dried juniper berries, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle or the side of a heavy knife
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed with a mortar and pestle or the side of a heavy knife
- 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
- 6 sprigs fresh marjoram or thyme
- Extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
- 1 large fennel bulb, with fronds
- Flaky sea salt, for serving
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Finely grate the zest from 1 of the limes and place the zest in a bowl (reserve the lime for later). Stir in the salt, pepper, and crushed juniper berries and fennel seeds. Sprinkle the mixture all over the salmon fillets and place them, packed close together, in a small baking dish (a large loaf pan or an 8-inch cake pan will work).
- Thinly slice the remaining lime and lay the slices on the fish. Tuck the marjoram sprigs around the fish. Cover the fish with olive oil—you’ll need at least ½ cup, possibly even 1 cup, to submerge it. Bake the fish until it’s just cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. (Thinner fillets may take less time—start checking at 10 minutes.)
- Remove the fennel fronds from the bulb and chop enough to make ½ cup. Trim the fennel bulb and thinly slice it on a mandoline or with a very sharp knife. In a bowl, toss the fennel fronds and slices with a pinch of fine sea salt. Juice the zested lime and add juice, to taste, to the fennel. Drizzle the fennel with oil. Serve the salmon and fennel sprinkled with flaky sea salt.
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