Salmon with Fennel Puree

As Matt and I have transitioned to a Paleo diet over the past four years, we have seen our grocery bill climb and climb.   We are at the grocery store more often and spend more each time.   Truth is, while there are certainly ways to eat delicious Paleo on a budget, meat is more expensive than rice.

Every six months or so, I freak out a little about our food bills.  “When I was right out of college, I spent $12 a week on food,” I lament.  Then Matt reminds me that (a) “right out of college” was many years ago and I need to allow for some inflation, (b) we are eating this way to invest in our health and we expect it to pay off in the long run and, (c) we save a lot of money compared to most people because we almost never eat out.

And that last point is very true.   In the years since we have been eating Paleo, we seem to reduce the amount we eat out each year.  While it’s certainly possible to find tasty, healthy options in restaurants, I almost always feel happier when we make something in our own kitchen.

Here’s what I cooked up this Saturday evening.  We enjoyed this meal with fresh asparagus drizzled with olive oil while sitting on our little porch in the city.  It was easy to make and supremely satisfying.   I hope that you like it too!

Salmon with fennel puree

Fennel, 2 bulbs (about 3 cups chopped)

Garlic, 4 cloves

Olive oil, 3 tablespoons (plus a little extra for salmon)

Coconut milk, 2 tablespoons

Lemon juice, 1 tablespoon

Lavender, ½ teaspoon chopped.  (If you don’t have this, you can leave it out.  But it adds a little more lightness and complexity to fennel puree.)

Salmon, 1 pound (or less if you don’t eat 8oz of fish at one sitting)

Salt, 1 teaspoon

Pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Take fronds off fennel.  Retain a few for garnish but sadly, I usually discard the rest.  Unless you know what to do with these delicate flourishes. 
  • Chop fennel into slices.
  • Cut each garlic clove in half.
  • Place fennel, garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon salt and a dash of pepper into large bowl.
  • Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss to coat.
  • Pour onto tray and place in pre-heated oven.
  • While fennel is cooking, place salmon on baking sheet.  Top with olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt.
  • After fennel has been in for 25 minutes, reduce oven to 350 degrees.  Leave fennel in oven and add salmon.
  • After 10 more minutes, take out fennel.
  • Add to food processor along with coconut milk, lemon juice and ½ teaspoon chopped lavender. Blend until smooth.  (Ideally, this will stay hot until you serve it.  In reality, that doesn’t usually happen so I will stick the puree in the microwave for 30 seconds before serving.)
  • When salmon is done, usually about 20 minutes after being added to oven, remove from oven.
  • Serve salmon topped with puree.

This makes two good-sized servings.