The meat of my Christmas Eve dinner this year was a tempting recipe from Bon Appetit. A delicious fish with one of my favorites flavors; Roasted Char with Fennel Salad.
½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced on a mandoline, divided
1¼ pounds arctic char or salmon fillet (we used salmon)
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped preserved lemon peel (didn’t get that fancy, I threw some dried lemon zest in there)
½ cup dill fronds
Preheat oven to 300°. Bring vinegar, sugar, caraway seeds, 2 tsp. salt, and ⅓ cup water in a small saucepan to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and add garlic. Let sit until garlic is slightly softened, 10–15 minutes.
Add half of fennel and toss to coat. Let sit until fennel softens slightly and tastes pickled, 8–10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place char in a 2- or 3-qt. baking dish and coat with 1 Tbsp. oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast until flesh easily flakes apart and a paring knife inserted into fish meets no resistance, 15–18 minutes.
Drain fennel mixture; discard liquid. Toss in a small bowl with lemon juice, preserved lemon, remaining 3 Tbsp. oil, and remaining fennel; season with salt and pepper. Mix in dill.
Serve char topped with fennel salad.
Do Ahead: Garlic and fennel can be pickled 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
Melt…in…your…mouth. That explains it all. There was hardly any left. The combo of flavors in the fennel, and the balance of soft and crunchy in the fennel from how it was prepped so was good. I even forgot to mix in the dill, which would have made it even better. I want more!