Recipe by Tony Smith
Serves 6 +
1 whole salmon gilled and gutted, 2 - 2.5kg
3 celery stalks
1 large white onion
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
6 bay leaves
1 fresh lemon
1 Tbsp salt
5g (1 teaspoon) black peppercorns
3 litres cold water
1 glass of wine
a piece of muslin cloth around the same size as your roasting dish (38x28cms or 15x11"), the deeper the sides the better.
Preheat oven to 160°C
Cut up the vegetables, and place a few of them in the salmon cavity. Lie the fish down in a roasting dish lined with a muslin cloth. This will make it easier to lift out when required. You will need to bend the tail around a little and place some vegetables underneath the salmon, between the roasting dish to avoid direct contact. Scatter the remaining vegetables, sliced lemon, and herbs around the salmon. Pour in the 3 litres of water, or enough to 3/4 fill the dish and add the glass of wine and salt. Cover with baking foil, but try to avoid it touching the salmon.
Place in the oven and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and carefully lifting a corner of the foil, press the top area of the fish near the dorsal fin, it will be quite soft when cooked. Leave wrapped to cool in cooking stock. It is best served when just cool, so cook 3 hours previous and leave to cool at room temperature.
When it comes to serving time, lift the salmon on the muslin cloth and place on a serving platter. Make a small incision and cut carefully along the back of the fish, around the head and tail, and gently remove the skin. Garnish with some fresh lemons, and herbs such as bay, mint, chervil, tarragon etc. Place onto the middle of the table for each guest to serve themselves.
Serve with fresh mayonnaise, Beurre Blanc, fresh salsa, salad, newly dug potatoes, fresh asparagus etc. Keep it simple.
Mint can be used in the initial cooking stock for a traditional kiwi flavour.
This dish calls for good white wine, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, they will all match a freshly poached salmon.
There is a cooking dish designed for this purpose called a fish kettle (poissonniere), and they are generally available made in stainless steel in any kitchen specialty shops at a reasonable cost. In the old kitchens, they were generally made of copper and were splendid looking items highly polished. They are still made today but extremely expensive. chowder and any remaining fish added to it.