Now that we’re deep into autumn and with winter knocking on the door, everything in our kitchen has been about warm, comforting food. As wonderful as this has been, it’s nice to freshen things up a little with some vibrant and bright flavours that are still beautiful at this time of year.
Frozen peas are an absolute go-to in most households, but paired with a little tarragon and olive oil, they feel so luxurious and are a real treat. Golden, caramelised fennel is my new favourite thing and I’ve been piling it onto anything that moves! It goes so well with pork, lamb or beef, but marrying it up with grilled salmon has to be one of the finest combinations ever. It picks up on the tarragon in the peas and makes for such a special little dish that will really brighten your mood with all these shorter days.
It’s a really healthy recipe too. The carbs are low (about 25g per person) and the salmon is fully loaded with vitamins and healthy fats. The peas and fennel finish things off perfectly, with lots more vitamins and a good dose of fibre too. Best of all, it’s super simple and only uses 6 ingredients. If you fancy giving it a go but want to change up the salmon, grilled chicken or lamb would work wonderfully, or keep things veggie and swap the salmon for a fried egg or two.
Ingredients 4 tbps olive oil 1 large fennel bulb, sliced lengthways 1/2 cm thick (reserve the fronds) 2 thick salmon fillets, sustainably sourced 250g frozen peas Heaped tsp chopped tarragon Lemon wedges to serve
Warm half the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the fennel slices and season. Cook for a few minutes until golden underneath, flip and repeat. Keep cooking until tender, remove from the pan and cook the remaining slices, keep warm.
Blanch the peas for 20 seconds, then tip into ice-cold water. Strain, then blitz in a processor with the tarragon. With the machine running, trickle in the remaining oil. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Heat a griddle pan to high and grill the salmon for 6-8 minutes or until cooked to your liking (1). Serve alongside the fennel and peas, lemon wedges and finish with a sprinkle of fennel fronds.
(1) When grilling the salmon, always start skin side down. Cook for about 3 minutes until the oils are released from the skin and the salmon can be moved easily, too soon and it will stick. Flip and cook for a minute, then return to skin-side down to finish cooking for another few minutes. I prefer my salmon a little on the rare side but like most things in cooking, it’s personal preference.