I was looking forward to checking out Top Chef Masters‘ winner and James Beard Award nominee chef Floyd Cardoz’s new cookbook, Flavorwalla, partly just for the name. And I also wanted to see it because the food he created for the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey looked incredible. But now that I’ve seen it, I’m staying for the candid opinions.
Take that idea that you can tell if a piece of meat or fish is done just by pressing the flesh.
“These people are full of shit,” Cardoz writes. “You can never tell if anything is done that way. The best way to tell when the salmon in this recipe is done is to set the timer and then look for the light mist on the plastic wrap.”
Well, then! Without any further ado, here’s the salmon dish Cardoz wants you to make… correctly. None of this fish-poking business. It makes a great dish for a larger family gathering or party.
Slow-cooked salmon with fennel and coriander recipe
Salmon is a good fish to serve to a large group, because it’s pretty universally liked. However, there’s not much that’s worse than overcooked salmon, which is why this cooking method is great. The oven temperature is so low that there is practically no chance of overcooking it. I first prepared this for a Christmas dinner at home for about 40 people, and it’s become my favorite method for cooking salmon for a big group. It’s also good for a party because it can go straight from the oven to the table, served directly from the baking dish. Thanks to the low, slow cooking, it’ll be moist and delicious even if it sits for a bit.
- 1-1/2 pounds/680 grams center-cut salmon, 1-1/2 inches thick, cut into 12 equal rectangles
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, softened
- Minced zest and juice of 1 orange
- 24 thin slices garlic
- 2 tablespoons minced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
- Leaves from 3 tarragon sprigs, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, ground medium-fine
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground fine
- 12 thin slices serrano chili (about 1 chili)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Heat the oven to 200 degrees F.
- Season the salmon with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Remove and discard the fronds and the tough tops of the fennel bulb. Thinly slice the bulb and the remaining tender stalks, keeping them separate. Set aside.
- Brush the bottom of a large Pyrex or ceramic dish with the butter. Sprinkle the sliced fennel bulb over the bottom of the dish. Pour the orange juice over the fennel. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with half of each of the following: the orange zest, garlic, shallots, ginger, tarragon, coriander and fennel seed.
- Arrange the salmon in a single layer in the dish. Place a slice of serrano and a slice of garlic on each piece of salmon. Sprinkle with the sliced fennel stalks and the remaining orange zest, garlic, shallot, ginger, tarragon, coriander and fennel seed. Drizzle the olive oil on top. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap. (The dish can be prepared to this point up to 1 day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. Before cooking, remove the dish from the refrigerator and, leaving the plastic in place, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.)
- Bake the salmon for 25 minutes. You don’t want to cook it so long that it turns opaque throughout and the white albumin comes out. Usually when the salmon is done, the plastic wrap is really tight and shiny, and there is a light mist on the underside. But if you don’t see the mist, just let the timer be your guide.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven, remove and discard the plastic wrap, and serve. Cooking time: about 35 minutes.
Excerpted from Floyd Cardoz: Flavorwalla by Floyd Cardoz (Artisan Books). Copyright ©2016. Photographs by Lauren Volo
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