Salmon, Fennel, and Pistachio Salad with a Strawberry Vinaigrette
1 ½ lbs skin-on salmon filets (this is usually about four fillets)
1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed, chopped in half, and sliced into ribbons
¼ cup pistachios, shelled
1 cup strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 shallot, finely minced
3 ½ cup loosely packed arugula, washed
¼ cup dill, finely chopped
1 ½ tbsp canola oil
Kosher salt, to taste
Maldon salt, to garnish
Black pepper, freshly cracked
Heat the oven to 350F. Place the pistachios on a baking sheet and cook until lightly browned (about 8 minutes). They’re done when they are fragrant and darkened.
Let's start by making the vinaigrette. Add 4 tbsp of the olive oil, the lemon juice, shallot, mustard, fennel, and ½ cup of strawberries into a mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until everything is thoroughly combined. Set aside.
Add the rest of the olive oil to a pan and place on medium-low heat. Add in the fennel and a few pinches of salt. Keep the fennel cooking for about 20 minutes (or however long it takes you to finish cooking the rest of the dish), stirring every few minutes. You want the fennel to darken and caramelize without burning.
Pat the salmon dry. Bone dry. As dry as humanly possible. One of the secrets to crispy skin is making sure there’s as little liquid on the outside as possible. Then, season with salt and black pepper.
Place a thick bottom pan on the stove over medium-high, pour in the canola oil and heat until it is shimmering. Then, slowly count to 15 and the oil should be hot enough. Carefully place the salmon skin side down into the oil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and press on it gently with the back of a spatula. Cook until the skin comes away from the pan easily. If it is sticking, it’s not done.
Once the skin lifts easily from the pan, flip the salmon over so the skin side faces up. Check the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer. We’re aiming for an internal temp of 120F. Then, add the butter, garlic, and remaining strawberries to the pan, tilt it up, and baste the salmon in the mixture using a spoon. I guarantee this will be unbelievably satisfying. Spoon the butter over the top and check the internal temperature every minute. Once you get close to 120F, check more often. As soon as it reaches the temperature, remove the salmon from the pan and place on a paper towel.
Remove the fennel that’s been caramelizing from the pan and get ready to assemble the salad! In a mixing bowl, toss the arugula, fennel, pistachios, and three tablespoons of the dressing. Distribute the salad onto a large serving plate and late the salmon fillets over the top. Add more of the dressing over the salmon or pour into a small pitcher to place at the table. Garnish with a little Maldon salt and fresh cracked black pepper and you’re good to go!