I vowed to eat fewer cookies, cakes, etc. after the holidays, but something always interferes — the inevitable weakness when a dessert menu is placed in front of me at the end of restaurant meals, the dinners at friends’ homes or my own sabotage when I decide to bake something sweet (which is more often than I should).
In an effort to counter the effects of those temptations, I’m trying to find dinner entrees that pack lots of flavor and not so many calories. Even though this dish requires a fair amount of olive oil for the poaching, when spread among two pounds of fish for four to six people, there’s no cause for complaint. And two pounds of salmon is plenty for four to six people, especially if a salad or other foods are being served.
Don’t fret if the last of the blood oranges are gone from the markets. You can still use regular oranges and it will be just as delicious. Make sure to slice the fennel very thinly or it won’t cook through in the allotted time. Another option, which I did the second time I made this, is to parboil the fennel a couple of minutes, drain it, then assemble the rest of the ingredients. The jalapeno gives the dish a subtle kick, so don’t omit that either.
Place the fish atop the fennel, oranges and lemon, scatter some dill throughout, season with salt and pepper, and pour the olive oil on top.
Roast it in the oven uncovered at a very low temperature (275 degrees) for 30 to 40 minutes. Don’t worry if the fish isn’t totally immersed in the olive oil. The abundant oils already present in the salmon will be enough to keep it moist. Break the fish into large pieces and pour some of the oil on top when serving. Have some lemon handy to squeeze on top, too. Try it with other seafood if salmon isn’t to your liking. Cod, halibut or similar thick-fleshed fish would be great too.
Preheat oven to 275°. Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill sprigs in a shallow 3-qt. baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper. Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.
Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque), 30–40 minutes for medium-rare.
Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs. Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill sprigs. Have extra lemon on hand to squeeze on top.