- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
Air Fried Salmon with Fennel Salad & Garlic Chili Ricotta Sauce
Salmon is one of the most versatile fish that you will readily find in your supermarket or fish monger. Juicy and delicious, it is packed with nutrients, and it makes a staple protein in any Keto, Paleo or Whole30 diet. It is one of your best sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, is high in Protein, B vitamins, good source of Potassium (even better in wild salmon), and is packed with Selenium...a trace mineral only found on certain foods. This Recipe is incredibly easy, and quick to make, and we'll save some more time by using the right tools in the kitchen.
- Salmon - 4 x 8oz Fillets (If you can get your hands on Wild Caught, go for it)
- Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute - Enough to sprinkle over the Salmon
- Fennel - 1 Large Head, or 2 smaller ones
- Lemon - 1
- EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) - 1tbsp
- Salt & Pepper - to taste
- Ricotta - 6oz
- Chili Oil - 2 tsp (you can find this in the International aisle of the supermarket)
- Garlic - 3 cloves
Have the supermarket cut the fillets for you at the fish counter for ease of use, and to save time. If you are cutting the fillets yourself, use a dedicated cutting mat for Fish to avoid cross contamination with other foods, and use a very sharp fish fillet knife. The knife's sharpness is VERY important to avoid tearing the fish, and it's safer. A dull blade is actually much more dangerous because you have to apply more pressure to cut, increasing the risk of the knife slipping. Try to cut the fillets around the same size for even cooking. Spread a light coat of the Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute over each fillet. To kick the flavor up a bit, rub the blend in your palm first with you thumb to crush the spices and release their oils. This seasoning blend is very versatile, and it makes a great addition to any spice rack. If you do not have a Trader Joe's near you, just pick some up on Amazon.
Preheat the Air Fryer for 2-3 minutes before adding the Salmon in the basket. This will help with that crispy crunch on top of the fish, and cook evenly. Spread the fillets on the fryer without touching each other (And make sure YOU are not touching the hot basket). I'm using the Gourmia GAF635 6qt air fryer which has ample room to fit all 4 fillets. That's over 2lb of Salmon all at once!
Cook for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. If you are using the Gourmia GAF635, just select the 7th preset (you can't miss it...it shows the picture of a fish), and it will automatically set the timer and the temperature. Although you typically want to flip the food half way through, leave this one alone. Trust me...you don't want your fillets breaking in half in the basket. Once they are cooked, make sure you are using soft rubber tongs to take them out. Fish spatulas are typically great for gently picking up fish off a pan, however in this case, they are not easy to use in a basket. Save those for another day.
While the fish is cooking, get the Fennel Salad and Garlic Chili Oil Ricotta sauce ready. Fennel is best sliced thin, which allows it to better absorb the oil and lemon juice, enhancing its flavor. If you have the dexterity, feel free to thinly slice them using a knife...or save yourself the headache and grab a mandolin slicer to make quick work of it. Thinly slice 1 large fennel head into a mixing bowl, and sprinkle with a couple of pinches of Salt & Fresh Cracked Pepper (Save some of the fennel fronds -- the gentle leaves that look like dill. They make a nice garnish at the end). Drizzle light EVOO and the Lemon Juice, and toss in the bowl so the Fennel is coated evenly. Use EVOO if you can here as it is part of the flavor profile of this salad, and it's VERY healthy. Fennel + Olive Oil + Lemon Juice (or red wine vinegar) are a trio of flavors that work really well together. You can definitely eat the salad right away, but let it rest for about 10-15 minutes for the oil and lemon juice to properly incorporate into the fennel.
The sauce is the easiest thing you'll make in this dish. Grab about 6 oz of Ricotta (whole milk), 2-3 tsp of Chili Oil (sold in the international aisle -- grab some on Amazon if your supermarket doesn't carry it), and 2-3 cloves of garlic. Use your judgement here on how spicy or garlicky you want the sauce to be...for me, I love garlic and spicy food, but that's not for everyone. One of these days I'll make, and post my mother's homemade ricotta recipe (That's what I used for the sauce). The ricotta she makes is to die for! Add all the ingredients in small food processor, and blend until smooth. Taste, and adjust oil/garlic accordingly.
And that's all it takes folks...this entire dish can be completed in under 30 minutes if you have your ingredients ready to go, and use the right tools in the kitchen. Try to plan ahead your next day's meal and set any non-perishable ingredients aside to save yourself from digging in the pantry or spice cabinet. I hope this recipe gives some ideas to those who work all day, and don't have the time to prepare a keto friendly meal. I'll continue posting delicious, easy to make, and good looking meals that do not take a long time to prepare and cook. As with my other recipes...these are mostly guidelines, and you have the freedom to adjust flavor profiles accordingly to what your are in the mood for, or what you have in your pantry. Don't feel like you can't prepare this meal because you are missing one of the spices...make it your own with what you have in the spice rack.