Lemony Salmon with Fennel and Orange Salad
One 2-pound salmon fillet, skin on
⅔ cup Preserved Lemon Paste (recipe below)
Paprika and thin preserved lemon slices (page 38), for garnish
1 medium orange
1 medium blood orange
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large head fennel
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bake the salmon: Arrange a rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler and preheat the oven to 300°F.
Arrange the salmon in a baking dish, spread with preserved lemon paste**, scatter with paprika and lemon slices, and bake until the salmon is just cooked through, 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until the lemon paste is slightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
Make the salad: While the salmon is baking, make the salad. Using a sharp knife, cut the top and bottom of the oranges off, stand the oranges on a cutting board, and cut the peel and rind from the oranges, following the shape of the fruit and trying to cut off as little of the flesh as possible. Squeeze any small amounts of juice from the rind pieces into a bowl and discard the rind. Hold an orange in your hand over the bowl. Using a sharp paring knife, cut between the white membranes that divide the flesh of the orange wedges. Release the orange flesh into the bowl, discarding as many pits as you can. Squeeze any extra juice out of the remaining web of orange membranes and discard. Repeat with the second orange. Whisk in the lemon juice and olive oil. Trim and discard the stalks from the fennel, but remove and reserve the fennel fronds. Halve the fennel through its core, then use the tip of the knife to cut out and discard the white inner core; thinly slice the fennel. Add the fennel to the bowl, and gently toss to coat with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fennel fronds.
Serve the salmon with the salad.
**Perserved Lemon Paste:
1 cup Preserved Lemons (2 large preserved lemons), seeds removed, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the lemons and paprika in a blender or the small bowl of a food processor, turn on the machine, and drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is creamy and emulsified, 1 to 1½ minutes. If you have a NutriBullet-style blender or attachment, just mix everything together and whirr for about 15 seconds for a super creamy spread; if you want to keep it low-tech, you can just chop the preserved lemons by hand as small as you can, drop them in a bowl, add the paprika, then whisk the olive oil in slowly. It’ll be chunkier, and you’ll have to whisk again with a fork before using, but it’s still delicious.