Traditionally Salmon is poached in court bouillon, but English food writer, Jane Grigson, recommends strong brine for an even tastier result, while allowing the fish to cool in the poaching liquid helps keep it moist. It takes a bit of confidence to handle the whole cooked fish; if you feel hesitant about turning it over, just peel back the skin from one side for presentation.
525g coarse salt
6 litres water
1 x 2.5-3kg Salmon, gilled and gutted
Dill sprigs, to garnish
Cucumber Salad with Caper & Dill Mayonnaise
250ml whole-egg mayonnaise (see notes)
½ cup finely chopped dill
½ cup baby capers, rinsed and dried
6 Lebanese cucumbers, seeded, cut into half moons
Salt flakes, to taste
Rinse fish, especially the cavity to remove any blood, wipe with a clean cloth to remove as much of the slime as possible. Place fish on the rack in a fish kettle, cover with salt water and place lid on top. Place kettle over 2 burners on a medium heat and bring to the boil (this should take about 20 minutes). As soon as the water begins to bubble, turn off heat, remove the lid and leave fish to cool completely in poaching liquid (1½-2 hours).
Meanwhile make Cucumber Salad: combine mayonnaise, dill and capers; set half aside. Stir remainder through cucumbers, taste and add salt.
When cool, remove fish from poaching liquid, place on a serving platter and carefully remove skin, then gently scrape off any dark flesh from just below the skin. Carefully turn over and repeat on the other side, leaving head and tail intact.
Spoon Cucumber Salad around fish, garnish with dill and serve remaining mayonnaise on the side.
If you don’t want to make your own mayonnaise, use one made from whole eggs such as S&W or Thomy.
Rainbow Trout (especially sea-raised, sold as ‘Ocean Trout’).