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Salmon doesn’t really need to dress up. It’s a sturdy fish and unlike its paler, flakier counterparts, its natural beauty and flavor can be left to speak for itself.  When salmon does need a boost, it looks good in green (herb-crusted, pistachio-crusted, asparagus-covered). Tonight I diverged from the usual and gave it a neutral-toned crunchy shield of flaxen and gold. And for good measure, so the salmon wouldn’t miss its green, I garnished it with fennel shoots and adorned it with other green accoutrements –a blend of fennel, avocado and cilantro dipping sauce.

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The combination of oven toasted flax seeds and golden panko protects the tender flesh of the fish while providing texture and tons of heart healthy omega-3s in every bite. The nuttiness of the seeds plays well against the aromatic fragrance of the fennel and cool, smooth avocado dip. A hint of lime and cilantro provide a bright acidity that rounds out the flavors and adds just a twist of complication to the flavor palette. Make sure you save enough of the dip to serve with the fish and resist the urge to taste repeatedly while waiting for the salmon to finish.

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Ingredients:

Salmon

  • 1 pound salmon
  • 4 tablespoons mustard or (rocoto pepper sauce or aji amarillo sauce)
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup panko

Fennel Avocado Dipping Sauce

  • 1 fennel bulb 
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of one lime
  • handful of cilantro
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

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Directions:

Salmon

Preheat oven to 350F. In a measuring cup combine flax seeds and panko and stir. Apply a thin layer of mustard or whichever hot sauce you choose for your base. Spread evenly with your fingers or a spoon. Gently apply seed and panko mixture on top of the mustard. Insert into the oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

Fennel Avocado Dipping Sauce 

Cut off the green top of the fennel and the bottom of the bulb. Save the top for garnish. Peel flakes off resisting the urge to eat the fragrant vegetable raw (okay maybe one bite).

Peel the avocado and split with a knife down the center, pulling open on both sides around the center pit.

In a food processor combine avocado and fennel, the juice of one lime, cilantro and salt. Process until it has the consistency of a smooth cream. Serve on a plate and add a garnish of olive oil and fennel leaves if desired.

Serve fish together with sauce.

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This recipe was inspired by and adapted from palate/pallette/plate.

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