Sunday, December 21, 2008

Baked Salmon in a Saffron-Tomato Broth for Souper Sunday

It's Souper Sunday time and following my own guidelines of being able to make soups, stews, chilis and any soup-like creation, I decided to do a Baked Salmon in a Saffron-Tomato Broth. I just made a batch of soup this week for next week's Barefoot Bloggers post and I am still trying to get to Portland tomorrow for the holidays (I'll keep you posted as it isn't looking pretty right now), so I wanted to make something smaller and more manageable and this seemed like it would fit the bill.  The original recipes comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, 5 Spices, 50 Dishes, by Ruta Kahate.  I have adapted this recipe before (see here) and since I love saffron, had some salmon in the freezer and some leftover fennel fronds. I thought the combination would be good.

Baked Salmon in a Saffron-Tomato Broth

adapted from the recipe Baked Fish in a Spice Broth, 
5 Spices, 50 Dishes by Ruta Kahate

2 (5-6 oz) salmon fillets, at least 1" thick
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 1/2  Tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, finely minced 
1/4 tsp finely minced garlic (about 1 clove)
1/4 cayenne pepper
1 pinch saffron
1 cup water or broth
1/2 tsp salt
1 medium Roma tomato, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
fennel fronds for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degree F.
In a small skillet. toast the fennel seeds over low heat until browned and fragrant. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the shallots, and stir until they turn golden. Add the garlic and cayenne and stir constantly over medium heat heat for another 30 seconds, taking care that the mixture doesn't burn. Meanwhile place a pinch of saffron into a mixing cup and add 1 cup hot water or broth (or place saffron and liquid into microwave and heat), stir thoroughly.  Add the saffron broth and salt to shallot mixture and bring to a boil.

Place the fish pieces in a casserole large enough to hold them in a single layer, and sprinkle the tomatoes evenly over the top. Pour the spicy broth on top and bake until the fish is cooked through but not over done, about 13-15 minutes. You can use a fork to test one of the pieces of fish discreetly; if it flakes easily, it is time to remove the fish from the oven. Serve sprinkled with the fennel fronds over rice or cous cous
Serves 2

Notes/Results:  Exotic, slightly spicy, I really liked this dish and love the beautiful color too. I love the slight anise/licorice flavor that the fennel seeds and fronds add, combined with the savory pungency of the saffron and the kick from the cayenne. I served it over some Israeli cous cous, as the thicker texture is more pasta like, and ate it with a spoon. Even if you aren't a fan of fennel and saffron, the beauty of this recipe is that you can change out the spices any way you like; curry, cardamon, cumin, etc.  It's  quick and easy and fits the need for a soupy comfort food.

It's that busy holiday time and the Souper Sunday kitchen is pretty quiet today, but guess who popped in, all bundled up from the cold? Of course, it is my friend Natashya from Living In the Kitchen With Puppies.  I can always count on Natashya to come by with a gorgeous soup and this this week is no exception with her beautiful and exotic Carrot Soup with Harissa. Being such a spicy girl herself, Natashya doubled the spices in her soup for delicious results. It looks like the perfect, warming dinner for this time of year.  

Thanks Natashya for coming to another Souper Sunday!  If you want to join us sometime and share your soup, stew, chili or any soup-like creation, leave a comment or shoot me an email and I'll add you to the next round up.

I hope everyone is enjoying the season, staying warm (or cool depending on where you are in the world) and getting to spend time with family and/or friends.  Have a great week!


  1. That looks so colourful and flavourful. I forgot about doing dishes "in brodo".
    Israeli couscous is one of those ingredients that I have purchased but have been nervous to use for the first time - time to free it from the pantry!
    ps, my word was "supes", coincidence?

  2. sounds good baked as well as in a soup :) hope you have a safe trip!


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