How to Cook Salmon

Whole poached salmon is a very popular choice often seen gracing tables at celebrations, it can be served either hot or cold. Try this dish at your next dinner party, your efforts will be well rewarded. Salmon, an oily fish, low in calories and high in omega 3. Wild salmon has more flavour than farmed salmon but, it’s an expensive fish to buy. Farmed salmon on the other hand is much cheaper but it can be tasteless. Chefs use a court-bouillon to infuse flavours into the fish.Serve the salmon with Hollandaise sauce, they complement each other, it’s a marriage made in heaven.


Serves 8 to 10 people


6lb (3kg) whole salmon (gutted and scales scraped leave the head on the fish)

Lemon slices cucumber slices fresh parsley

Court-Bouillon 3 pints (1.75 litres) water

1 bottle dry white wine

1 large Spanish onion (sliced)

4 carrots (sliced) 2 celery stalks (sliced)

2 bay leaves

1 bouquet garni


Lift the perforated rack out of the fish kettle and put it to one side. Place the fish kettle on the hob. Put water, white wine, Spanish onion, carrots, celery stalks, bay leaves and bouquet garni into the fish kettle. Cover it with a lid and bring the liquid up to the boil.

Turn the heat off and remove the lid. You will see that a scum has formed on top of the liquid. This is easily skimmed by using a spoon. Once the liquid is clear put the lid back on the fish kettle. Bring the court-bouillon up to simmering point and simmer for thirty minutes. After half an hour take the fish off the hob and allow the liquid to cool slightly.

Wrap the salmon up in a large piece of muslin. This helps to hold the fish together. Put the fish on the perforated rack and lower it into the court-bouillon. Make sure there is sufficient liquid to cover the salmon. If not add more water. Put the fish kettle back onto the hob and cover with a lid. Bring the liquid up to simmering point and simmer gently for thirty to sixty minutes. After forty five minutes take the fish out and check whether it is cooked. Open up the muslin and with a fork try to flake the fish. If it doesn’t flake easily then cook it for a bit longer. When the salmon is cooked to your satisfaction discard the muslin and remove the skin. Place on a platter and garnish with lemon, cucumber and parsley.

Useful Tip

Ask your fishmonger to clean the fish for you.


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