Pan-fried salmon with blood oranges and watercress.

Pan-fried salmon with blood oranges and watercress.

This delightfully light salmon recipe makes use of wonderful blood oranges that are available right now from good greengrocers.  Blood oranges not only have a beautiful colour but they’re also extremely sweet, having an almost berry like quality to their flavour. Here, the juice is used in a dressing to envelop peppery watercress leaves whilst a few slices are also grilled to serve alongside. This recipe is also gluten free.

Do try to get skin on salmon fillets – you may have to descale them yourself if you buy from the supermarket.  You can use skinless fillets, but be careful that they don’t stick to the pan.

Serves 2


  • 2 skin on, scaled salmon fillets (about 250-300g)
  • 1 medium blood orange (if v small, use 2)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 25g butter
  • 200g waxy new potatoes
  • 100g watercress
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper

First cook your new potatoes. When ready, drain and return them to the cooking pan, with the lid on, to keep warm.

Whilst the potatoes are cooking, remove any thick stems from your watercress. Keep the watercress in a large bowl suitable for tossing with a dressing later.

Next cut four 5mm thick slices from the centre of your blood orange (s), slicing across the equator.

Rub the salmon fillets on both sides with a little olive oil and season well with salt and black pepper. Heat 1.5 tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Once the pan is very hot, place the fillets, skin side down in the pan and arrange the 4 oranges slices around. The fish and orange slices should be flush with the pan to ensure caramelisation.

After 2.5-3 minutes, use a palette knife to remove the orange slices which should have caramelised on one side. Transfer them to a plate to use later.  Continue to cook the salmon, skin side down, until it has been cooking for a total of 4 minutes.  Then, using the palette knife, flip the fillets over and cook the flesh side for 1 minute. Transfer the salmon to a plate, keeping the skin side facing upwards.

Whilst cooking the salmon and orange slices, don't be tempted to move them around the pan. Leave them exactly where you placed them, regulating the heat to keep a constant temperature. This will ensure you caramelise the orange slices and that the salmon skin becomes crisp.

Once you've removed the fish and orange slices, scatter the crushed fennel seed into the pan, allowing it to sizzle a little in the remaining hot oil. Then squeeze the juice from the remaining orange into your pan, collecting and discarding any pips that may fall out. Allow the juice to bubble and reduce until it starts to turn a little syrupy. This will take 2-3 minutes. Season with a little salt and then drop the butter in. As soon as the butter has melted, turn off the heat and swirl the sauce around the pan to emulsify the butter and reduced orange juice. Have a taste and add more seasoning if you think it needs it. The sauce should have a little sweetness but nonetheless still taste savoury.  Make sure you don’t keep the heat on after the butter has melted otherwise the sauce will separate (it will taste good but won’t coat the leaves how it should).

Slice the potatoes in half and add to the bowl containing the watercress. Pour most of the warm sauce from the pan over the vegetables and gently toss it all together. Divide this between your plates. Sit the salmon fillets on top and drizzle any remaining sauce around. Garnish with the orange segments, caramelised side up.

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