Poached salmon

Prep: 80 mins
Cook: 120 mins
Poached salmon
A whole salmon can be prepared for the table in a couple of hours, and is absolutely beautiful and a stunning hit.

1 whole salmon, scaled, gutted, and cleaned (gills, fins from the back, belly, and near the gills removed by fish monger)

Court-Bouillon (see ingredients and method below)

2.8 ltr water

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 leek, sliced crosswise, white and light green part only

1 medium rib celery, cut into pieces

1 lemon, thinly sliced

2 dried bay leaves

2 sprigs fresh thyme

½ tsp whole black peppercorns

For the main dish

6 large egg whites

2 tbsp + ¾ tsp un-flavoured gelatine

Fennel fronds, for garnish

1 lemon, sliced into -thick rounds, for garnish

1 orange, sliced into rounds, for garnish

2 or 3 cucumbers sliced into thin rounds, for garnish (optional)

First nake the Court-Boullion

In a large saucepan, combine the water, carrots, leek, celery, lemon, bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns.

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, strain through a fine sieve to remove solids. 

This can be made up to 2 days ahead of poaching the fish.

Rinse the prepared fish under cold running water, until the water runs clear.

Pat the fish dry inside and out with kitchen towels then place on a clean work surface.

If the fish is too long to fit in a poacher, remove the head and tail with a sharp knife, cut off the tail right below the tail fins.

Cut a double thickness of cheesecloth longer and wider than the salmon.

Place the cheesecloth on a clean work surface.

Lay the fish lengthwise on the cloth, and wrap the cloth around the fish.

Tie the ends of the cheesecloth with kitchen string.

Place the rack in the bottom of the poacher, and fill with the cooled court bouillon.

Using the ends of the cloth as handles and lower salmon into the poacher, adding water if necessary to cover the fish.

Cover, and set the poacher over two burners.

Bring the liquid to a simmer then reduce the heat to very low.

Cook at the lowest simmer for 25 minutes. Do not let the water boil.

Carefully lift out the rack using two wooden spoons, and prop the spoons on the edges of the poacher so the fish is slightly elevated.

Raise one of the spoons to lift the side of the rack that supports the head end, and expose the widest part of the fish's back.

Insert an instant-read thermometer near where the fin was.

The fish is fully cooked when the temperature registers 135 degrees. (For a larger salmon this may take up to an hour.)

If the temperature is too low, return the fish to the liquid, and continue poaching, checking the temperature every 10 minutes.

Using two wooden spoons remove the rack from the liquid, and prop it on top of the poacher at an angle to drain, reserving the court bouillon.

When the salmon is cool enough to handle, transfer to a clean work surface; let cool completely.

To make the glaze, pour the bouillon through a fine sieve.

Place 1.4 litres of the bouillon in a stockpot. In a bowl, whisk 6 egg whites until frothy, then whisk the whites into the bouillon.

Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, about 10 minutes.

Stop whisking, and simmer until all the foam has risen to the surface and the liquid below is clear, about 15 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, carefully lift out the foam.

Soak a large piece of cheesecloth in ice cold water.

Squeeze out any excess water, and line the sieve with the cold cheesecloth.

Pour the broth through the sieve.

Repeat, using fresh cheesecloth each time, until all the foam has been removed from the stock.

Place 80ml of cold water in a small bowl, and evenly add in the gelatine over the top.

Let sit until gelatine is softens, around 10 minutes.

Add the gelatine mixture to the stock, and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until all the gelatine has fully dissolved but do not allow to boil.

Remove from the heat.

Unwrap the fish, leaving the cheesecloth in place underneath.

If the head and tail are still attached you may want to leave them on for decoration. If not, remove the tail. The head will pull off easily.

Turn the fish over, so that the side that was on the rack faces up.

Peel the skin off using your fingers.

Using cheesecloth to support the fish, flip it onto a serving platter, skin side up.

Remove the skin from the top of fish. Using the back of a knife, gently scrape off any brown flesh.

Decorate the salmon with the garnishes and arrange the garnishes on top of the fish; temporarily secure with toothpicks.

Pour the glaze into a large bowl set over an ice-water bath.

Stir the broth until it begins to thicken.

Remove from the ice bath, and coat evenly over the salmon.

Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Repeat the glazing process, if desired.

Keep the salmon in the refrigerator, uncovered, up to 24 hours, or until you are ready to serve.

When ready to serve, clean away any collected set broth around the bottom of the fish and cut with a fish server. 


Preparation Time
80 minutes

Cooking Time
120 minutes

Main ingredients
Fruit, Eggs, Fish, Vegetables, Stock/Broth

Recipe Type

Level of Difficulty

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