This Month's Recipe...
May 2021 - Poached Salmon with Hollandaise
Dinner & Party, p79
At it's best, when perfectly poached, slightly pink in the centre and the tender fish itself the best quality, with little fat and a clear, authentic flavour, salmon is a very special dish for dinner. It lost its reputation, though, becoming a buffet-table cliché; a fatty, intensively reared creature served dry from overcooking alongside bottled sauces.
Yet there is a time for a proper poached salmon, when numbers and appetites are unpredictable and everyone has to help themselves. It is a matter of taking more care, and serving good leafy salads, buttery potatoes and a real hollandaise. You will be surprised at how many people tell you they have never tasted salmon like this before.
Serving dish: large oval serving platter
1.5-1.8kg whole salmon, gutted and de-scaled
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a few slices lemon
1 quantity Hollandaise (see p48 of Dinner and Party)
For the poaching liquid:
1-1.5 litres water
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 celery stick, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
75ml white wine vinegar
100ml white wine
To serve cold salmon:
1 cucumber, deseeded and part peeled, shaved into ribbons
small-leaf herbs, micro leaves, fennel fronds
extra virgin olive oil
lemons, quartered or halved, then grilled
1 quantity Mayonnaise (p221 Dinner & Party)
Prepare the fish by seasoning the cavity and inserting the lemon slices. Put the poaching liquid ingredients in a fish kettle and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes then lower in the fish. Immediately turn off the heat, and wait 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the fish.
Alternatively, you can wrap the fish in buttered foil or baking parchment, then bake in the oven at 180°C/400°F/Gas 6. The fish is cooked when it feels firm and springy to the touch, about 20-25 minutes. Be careful not to overcook it.
Either eat warm, with the Hollandaise, or allow to cool, for cold salmon. It can be stored in the fridge for several hours before serving. To present a cold salmon, remove all the skin from the body. Dress the cucumber ribbons and herbs with olive oil, then strew all over the salmon.
Alternatives: Sea trout, arctic char, sea bass.