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How to cook a whole salmon


1st Jan 2015 Recipes

How to cook a whole salmon

A whole poached salmon can be served either hot or cold, and the cooking method varies accordingly.

Cooking directions

For a salmon that is to be served cold:

1. Put the fish into cold water or court bouillon, cover and then bring it to the boil, skimming off any scum that forms.

2. Turn off the heat as soon as it reaches the boil and leave the salmon in the liquid to cool completely before dressing it with your chosen garnishes. It is not necessary to set the trimmings in an aspic glaze. If preferred, fresh herbs can simply be laid on top.


For a salmon that is to be served hot:

1. Pour enough court bouillon or water to cover the fish into a fish kettle (see below), but do not add the salmon. Bring the liquid to the boil, and then add the fish.

2. Return it to simmering point and poach the salmon gently, allowing 11 minutes per kg. Remove the fish from the liquid, then cover and leave it to rest for 5 minutes.

To accompany the salmon, serve with baby new potatoes, freshly made mayonnaise, and a cucumber salad made with fresh dill or mint, thick plain yoghurt and black pepper.


Don’t worry if you do not have a fish kettle–you can improvise

If you do not want to go to the expense of buying a fish kettle that will be used only rarely, you can hire fish kettles by the day from some fishmongers and large supermarkets for a special occasion. It is also possible to use a roasting tin. Alternatively, you can bake the fish on a baking tray in the oven as follows.

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Brush a large piece of strong foil with oil or melted butter and put it on a baking tray.

2. Put the gutted and cleaned fish in the centre (if it is too big the head and tail can be cut off), season it inside with salt, pepper, slices of lemon or handfuls of herbs if you want to, and wrap it loosely in the foil, folding over the edges to seal the parcel.

3. If the salmon is to be served hot, cook it for 35 minutes per kg. Remove the fish from the oven and leave it to set, still wrapped in the foil, for 5 minutes. 

If the fish is to be served cold, cook it for 22 minutes per kg, then remove it from the oven. Keep the fish wrapped in the foil until it has cooled down completely.

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