Braised Salmon & Fennel w/ Pine Nuts & Saffron

Makes 2 Servings


  • 1 generous pinch of saffron threads
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 fennel bulb (about 1 lb)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1½ lbs salmon fillet cut from the thickest part, skinned
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted

Special Equipment

  • large skillet


  1. Crush the saffron threads and drop them into white wine to infuse for 15 minutes or more
  2. Trim the fennel stalks, saving some feathery leaves for garnish. Quarter and core the fennel bulb; cut it lengthwise into eighths, then slice across to make bite-size pieces
  3. Cut the lemon across in half; from one half grate the zest and squeeze the juice (about 2 tbsp).  Cut the other half in quarters for garnish
  4. In a very large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat and gently sauté the fennel, stirring with a spatula from time to time without letting it brown, about 6 minutes
  5. Stir in the scallions and garlic and cook a minute or two more
  6. Push the vegetables to the side of the pan and place the salmon fillet in the middle (if you are using individual fillets, put them side by side but slightly apart)
  7. Add the saffron and wine, lemon juice and zest. Cover the pan tightly and over low heat cook the salmon through, about 10 minutes depending on thickness, until it is just done
  8. Divide the salmon between four plates and keep warm
  9. Add the pine nuts to the pan, raise the heat, and cook briefly to reduce and concentrate the liquid
  10. Season the fennel mixture to taste with salt and pepper and spoon it beside the salmon fillets
  11. Garnish with fennel leaves and lemon slices