By Howard Lee Puckett
Serves 6 to 8
Fennel and rosemary offer another tasty combo for seasoning salmon or most any fish. If you prefer, use cod, bass, snapper or other fresh whole fish that’s available.
• 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed and sliced 1/4-inch-thick (reserve fronds)
• 2 leeks, trimmed and sliced 1-inch-thick
• 3 medium tomatoes (about 1 pound), cut into wedges
• 1 (3½- to 4-pound) whole salmon, dressed
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1 teaspoon toasted fennel seeds*, crushed
• 3 fresh rosemary sprigs
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• Rosemary sprigs and fennel fronds, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scatter fennel bulbs, leeks and tomatoes in a large roasting pan lightly coated with cooking spray.
2. Make several diagonal cuts in the thickest part of the fish on both sides; place over vegetables.
3. Whisk together olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Brush half the olive oil mixture on fish and inside fish cavity; drizzle remaining oil mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle fennel seeds on fish and inside cavity. Tuck 1 rosemary sprig in the cavity and the other 2 on the vegetables. Reserve a couple of fennel fronds for garnish; coarsely chop the remaining fronds and stuff into the cavity. Pour wine over fish.
4. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, for 30 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until fish is just cooked through, but still moist. Transfer fish to a large serving platter and surround with vegetables. Garnish with rosemary sprigs and fennel fronds.
* Note: To toast fennel seeds, place a small skillet over medium-high heat until hot: add fennel seeds and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until seeds are toasted.
Frequent contributor Kris Wetherbee writes and gardens in the hills of western Oregon.
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