Coriander Crusted Salmon with Fennel Salsa Verde

in Lighter & Healthier, Salmon, Seafood, Valentine's Day

Coriander Crusted Salmon with Fennel Salsa Verde

I am a semi-reformed fennel hater. I don’t like black jelly beans. And I don’t like foods that remind me of black jelly beans. But I have found one way to prepare fennel that makes me want to eat embarrassing amounts of it.

But outside of that recipe, I do still kind of hate it.

Last spring, I attended a cooking class at Central Market that featured a menu built around Texas olive oils. As one of the assistant chefs plopped a tiny piece of salmon in front of me with a scary amount of fennel salsa verde, he said “the olive oil really tames the flavors of the raw shallot and fennel.”

Coriander Crusted Salmon with Fennel Salsa Verde

And he was not lying.

The salsa verde is loaded with fresh fennel, shallot, lemon juice, and capers. It’s fresh, crisp, and bright. The flavors, while strong, were perfectly complimented by the fruity olive oil. All of that deliciousness is piled on top of a piece of salmon that’s seared so that the dry coriander-fennel seed rub forms a wonderful, crispy crust.

It’s every bit as good as it sounds. And more. And if you’re still on the fence about fennel after taking one bite, you’ll probably never, ever like fennel :)

Coriander Crusted Salmon with Fennel Salsa Verde

Coriander and fresh fennel salsa verde brightens up salmon.


  • For the salmon:
  • 2 Tbsp coriander seed
  • 2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 6 salmon filets, 6 oz each
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • For the salsa verde:
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fennel
  • 1/2 cup finely diced shallot
  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp capers
  • 1 anchovy filet, minced or 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sherry or white wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper


  1. Place coriander and fennel in a small pan over medium high heat.
  2. Toast the seeds, shaking the pan frequently, until they begin to brown and are fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  3. Let cool a few minutes and then transfer to a grinder or small chopper and coarsley grind.
  4. Spread on a small plate and add the sat, pepper, and sugar, mixing well.
  5. Brush the salmon filets with olive oil and dip the top side of each filet into the spice mixture.
  6. Transfer the fish to a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate while preparing the rest of the meal. (I cook 3 filets one night and keep the other seasoned filets on the plastic-covered plate in the fridge to cook for dinner the next night.)
  7. To make the salsa verde, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss gently. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Preheat oven to 375.
  9. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in an oven-safe saute pan over medium-high heat until very hot.
  10. Place the salmon, coriander side down in the hot oil and sear for 2 minutes, until a nice brown crust forms.
  11. Flip the filets and transfer the pan to the oven, cooking for 6-10 minutes, until the fish flakes easily and the center is almost opaque.
  12. Divide the salmon between plates and top with a generous scoop of fennel salsa verde.


Yields: 6 servings

Adapted from Central Market's Texas Olive Harvest

Estimated time: 40 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 365.9 | Fat: 17.2g | Fiber 1.1g | Protein 44.3g | Carbs 6.0g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 9

19 comments… add one

  • I couldn’t be with you more on the black jelly beans. And I really only like cooked fennel. But I ‘m intrigued by this salsa verde, will be trying it this weekend!

  • I’m a fennel hater too – or really, anything that has that black licorice sort of flavor. Your salmon looks fantastic though, so who knows, maybe it’ll change my mind. You already worked your magic with grapefruit, why not fennel? :)

  • I’m just like you. Fennel is not my favorite flavors, especially raw. However, I like it when cooked into recipes. Or recipes that tame the flavor, like this one!

  • What a beautiful and creative bunch of flavor pairings, Shawnda! This looks so delicious and right up my alley for a fresh Mediterranean meal. Thanks for sharing!

  • Salmon is my favorite! This is beautiful and looks scrumptious!

  • My husband has been craving salmon lately, looks like the perfect meal to quench his cravings!

  • This looks and sounds absolutely delicious. We love salmon, but get stuck with the “usual” recipe so I cannot WAIT to try this.
    Beautiful photo as well.

  • I’m not into licorice at all (eww!) but I do love fresh fennel :) This dish sounds fantastic!

  • I love fennel and I love salmon so this will go down well. Printing off to try in the next few days.

  • That second shot is outstanding. If I liked salmon, I would totally make this 😉

  • this looks insanely good. i’m impressed you are using fennel seeds, that’s not very common, would never have thought of it. great job on presentation.

  • I too pretty much hate fennel but am interested in trying this dish since you say it’s bearable and even good in this dish!

  • I love salmon in any darned way I can get it but the addition of this fennel salsa must add such a a fresh brightness to the fish. Definitely pinning this!

  • I’m always a bit iffy about fennel, especially raw. But if it won YOU over, then maybe I’ll have to give it a go. As long as you don’t hide any black jelly bellys in it.

  • april

    Can I have all your black jelly beans? Yum! I love fennel too. thanks for the recipe.

  • Alice B

    I am a self-proclaimed fennel-hater, but my husband probably loves it as much as I hate it, so… I made this last week for him and he went nuts. Ate the salsa with a spoon nuts.

    Thank you so much for sharing – we will definitely make this again soon! (I think I could just spoon the salsa on an old shoe and he’d still go for it…)

  • Melodya

    I agree about black licorice.. yuck. But I tried this and we LOVED it. I did use chicken broth instead of wine cause I know we don’t like the taste. And the salsa was just a bit to bold for us so I heated it just slightly and it was a hit. I’m now going to impress my friends with this recipe soon! Thanks. 😀

  • Hi! bookmarked this recipe months ago and finally got around to making it this weekend! Oh my gooooooodness. It was wonderful. I left out the capers and anchovy from the salsa, and it was still wonderful. My boyfriend said it was the best salmon w/ salsa he’s ever had. I have to agree! Just wanted to let you know. :)

  • Jeanette Holder

    I found a recipe for a very similar salsa in Bon Appetite (minus the anchovy and sherry) to have with pork. Since fennel goes so well with fish, and we were having cod, I looked online for something similar and came across this recipe. Very happy I did, although I missed adding the sherry. Still, it was very nice and will try it again and not forget any of ingredients next time. Thanks.

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