Caramelized Salmon

I’m just a little behind on the whole fennel pollen craze, but I finally jumped onto that train and ordered some from the Pollen Ranch.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but the fragrance of fennel pollen is quite lovely.  I would be hard pressed to try and describe it for you, but it’s most certainly a concentrated scent of fennel, yet very floral.  There are definite aromas of anise, maybe curry or saffron.  Very complex and quite delicious.

So, fennel pollen is just as its name suggests… it’s the pollen from the fennel plant, which the Pollen Ranch harvests on coastal and inland fields in California.  But fennel pollen has been harvested and used in Tuscan cuisine for a very long time.  Like I said… I’m a little late to this party.

I found this salmon recipe on the Pollen Ranch website, and I’ve made it twice now, and man is it good!  We love the caramel-y sweet/sour  flavors of the mirin, soy and fennel pollen.  They are really stunning as they reduce and caramelize the salmon.

And the thing is, it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t have fennel pollen; this is going to be a great dish even without it.  I suggest serving it with some jasmine rice to soak up every bit of that amazing sauce.  You’re not going to want to waste a drop.

Caramelized Salmon

Click here for a printable recipe
Serves 4

4 salmon fillets, pin bones removed
1 tbsp. grapeseed oil
1 tbsp. butter
½ cup mirin
½ tsp. tarragon
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. Pollen Ranch Fennel Pollen
3 tbsp. tamari soy sauce

Note:  The recipe calls for leaving the skin on the salmon, which I like to do, but skinless salmon works fine here.

Note 2:  If you make this for fewer than 4, do not reduce the amount of sauce.

Place skillet over medium heat.  Add the grapeseed oil and butter to skillet and heat. Add salmon fillets to skillet, skin side up, and sear for 2½ to 3 minutes on each side.

Pour mirin over salmon, turn heat up to medium high and cook until sticky bubbles form, 3-5 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the pan and keep warm.

Lower heat to medium and add tarragon, pepper and fennel pollen.  Add tamari and reduce sauce a little further, another 5 minutes until it’s beginning to thicken.

Return the salmon to the pan (skin side up) and cook until the fillets are cooked through and the sauce is nicely thickened.

Spoon sauce over fish and serve.