Recipe: Salmon with Olive-Almond-Fennel Topping

raw-salmon Olives and salmon are a wonderful match.This simple, fast, bright-tasting topping can be thrown together quickly and is good on just about anything (well, not chocolate cake). Here, the salmon is pan roasted but it could just as easily be grilled or baked.And the topping is good with other fish, such as swordfish, halibut, sturgeon, sea bass, etc.

serves 4

For topping

½ cup slivered almonds, roasted until golden

1 cup pitted green olives (see below)

2 tablespoons drained capers

1/3 teaspoon each roughly ground coriander and fennel seeds

half of the grated zest from one Meyer or Eureka lemon (Meyer is best)

3-5 tablespoon (to taste) fresh lemon juice
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

For fish

4 salmon filets

half of the grated zest from one Meyer or Eureka lemon (Meyer is best)

1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

high-temperature oil like grapeseed

Make topping:

Pit olives if necessary and chop into medium-small pieces. Add other ingredients, mix and set aside. Can add salt and pepper to taste, but it won’t need salt.

Prepare fish:

1. Preheat oven to 375-400

2. In a mortar and pestle, roughly grind seeds.Remove to a small bowl and add lemon zest, salt and pepper.Mix.
3. Rub olive oil on top of filets (not skin side) and distribute topping among them.

4. Coat an oven-proof fry pan with high-temperature oil and turn on high until hot but not smoking. Add filets skin side down and cook on stovetop for 2 minutes (or less for thinner filets).

5. Move pan to oven and cook for 12 minutes (or less if filets are thin; or more for those who liked overcooked fish).

6. Serve fish topped with olive-almond mixture.


The absolutely best olives for this recipe are either Lucques, from the south of France or Castelvetrano from Italy. Or use both. They are often available at the largest Whole Foods stores in the olive bar. Once you taste these meaty, creamy, delicious olives, you’ll be hooked.

However, other tasty green olives – or a mixture – is still quite nice. Try picholines from olive bars or any green olive you like. An acceptable solution is the “Provence green” type olives from olive bars and/or the big pitted, spice-coated olives from Whole Foods, which taste good and are quick because they allow you to avoid the tiresome pitting process.


One response to “Recipe: Salmon with Olive-Almond-Fennel Topping

  1. OK folks listen up, if you like salmon you have to try this right now…tonight! Really.

    I am a novice cook and was sceptical about brining fish but this recipe is  incredibly good and seriously foolproof (as she warns, don’t overcook it).  

    Dill does not smell appealing when roasted but don’t dismay, this salmon is magical. 
    Susan is not only a terrific cook but she is amazingly generous with her recipes and experience.  

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