My inspiration for this dish came from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian who said the best thing he ever made was a salmon dish with fennel and dates. It sounded wonderful and being that salmon is one of my favorite foods, I set out to make my own version using figs instead of dates.
I love figs…both fresh and dried, and either will work in this recipe. I couldn’t find fresh but will definitely use them once I do. The distinct flavors in this salad also include fennel with it’s anise flavor and crisp crunch, summery cucumber, sweet red onion, nutty toasted walnuts, and the juices of orange and lemon. Drooling, right? Each ingredient adds a level of freshness, sweetness, savory, and texture and they blend beautifully together.
My simply-seasoned salmon filet is grilled in a cast iron grill pan just until it’s light pink and flaking. Place the fillet on top of a bed of salad for a flavor explosion that’s both light and fresh. The flavors and colors were deliciously yum-worthy, especially when combined with a chilled glass of Oregon Pinot Gris.
- Two (6 oz) center cut fillet of salmon, skinless
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1 English (hothouse) seedless cucumber, peeled, center tiny seeds removed, diced
- 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel (save some feathery fronds for garnish)
- 6 figs, small dice with top and bottom stems removed (fresh or dried work)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
- 2 Tbsp chopped green onions
- 1/2 fresh lemon, juiced (Meyer if you can find)
- 1/2 fresh orange, juiced
- 4-6 Tbsp olive oil (to taste)
- Dash fine sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Honey (optional)
Grill the salmon just until the flesh firms and they turn golden brown with grill marks appearing, about 3-4 minutes. Wiggle the filet loose with tongs and flip to other side and grill another 3 minutes or until it begins to flake easily. Remove to a plate to cool slightly.