By Karen Schulz
It always amazes me when people complain about cold temperatures in January, I mean we do live in New York. However, by April, I am absolutely on their bandwagon, cranky about gray skies and unyielding cold temperatures, and eagerly awaiting warmer days.
My antidote? Salmon accompanied by cucumber fennel salad. It is lemony and light, and since it is baked in the oven, I don’t need to don my winter coat to grill outside. It is accompanied by a cucumber-fennel salad with dill, the herb guaranteed to transport me to thoughts of sunny, summer picnics.
It takes fifteen minutes start to finish, which makes it a no-brainer for weeknight dinner, and is super healthy and delicious. We are all familiar with the long list of health benefits that come with salmon, but did you know that fennel contains antioxidants and provides immune support? Not only is fennel good for you, it adds great crunch to salads, flavor to shrimp when cooked, has a unique mild licorice flavor and is definitely an unsung hero in the vegetable world worthy of a regular spot on your shopping list.
I hope this recipe tides you over until Mother Nature decides to bless us with warmer days.
<<Salmon with Creamy Cucumber-Fennel Salad>>
4 6-oz. skinless salmon fillets
1 T. olive oil
¼ t. cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 lemon, thinly sliced
½ c. plain low-fat Greek yogurt
1 T. cider vinegar
1 fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced, plus 2 T. chopped fronds
½ English cucumber, thinly sliced
Heat oven to 400° F.
Rub the salmon with the oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with cayenne pepper and ¼ t. each salt and black pepper. Top with the lemon slices and bake until opaque throughout, 8-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, and ¼ t. each salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Add the fennel, fennel fronds, and cucumber and toss to coat.
Serve the salmon with the cucumber-fennel salad and a toasted baguette, if you have a starch lover in your family.