A poached salmon makes a fantastic summer meal, with friends in the garden, a dinner party or for Sunday lunch. Scottish wild salmon is now in season. With its delicate, sweet flesh, wild salmon is one of the most prized fish available.
We source the very best Salmon
Wild salmon, particularly that from Scotland is considered the very best. They use traditional fishing techniques which ensure the fish can swim around within the net until they are caught. This approach guarantees the fish do not end up with net marks, bruising or scaling – it will look pristine on your plate. You will see on our counter that the salmon are given a traceability tag very recognisable, with a blue saltire. You can see more about our wild salmon here >>
Cooking Poached Salmon
A whole fish cooked on the bone always looks and tastes better than smaller fillets. Whole it will make an impressive centrepiece for your table and can be prepared in advance. For serving you need to allow about 200g of whole fish per person, so a 2 kilo fish can feed up to ten. Traditionally you use a fish kettle for poaching (they are widely available online and prices start from as little as £16) You can fit a 2kg fish in a 24 inch fish kettle. (You can probably get 4kg fish in but you will need cut off its head and tail.) If you don’t want to make the investment do not worry a large roasting tin and plenty of foil will do just as well, tips on this below.
Ingredients for Poached Salmon
1 Whole wild salmon from Walter Purkis & Sons
1 Onion roughly chopped
3 Large bay leaves
4 tbsp of white wine vinegar – for fish kettle
1 Glass of white wine – for foil cooking
1 Lemon cut into quarters
Black pepper corns
Thinly sliced cucumber and fresh dill for decoration
Preparation method for Poached Salmon
These cooking tips will work for any size of fish.
Place the salmon in a fish kettle on top of the lifting tray – it makes life much easier when it comes to removing the poached salmon from the pan after cooking. If you haven’t got one a large roasting tin will do fine – tips on how to do this below.
Add enough cold water to cover the fish (it must be fully covered). Next add the onion, bay leaves, vinegar and lemon quarters and plenty of salt also add about eight black pepper corns.
Cover the kettle with a lid, or tin foil, and bring to the boil on the hob. As fish kettles are long and thin it is often easier and quicker to put the pan across two rings.
Let the water boil for about 20 seconds then turn off the heat and allow the fish to stand in the water until it has cooled. For a perfect poached salmon do not let it overcook. The aim here is to get a fish that is moist and easily flaked when serving. Cook too long and it will become dry and hard.
Carefully remove the salmon and place onto a board. Next remove the skin with a knife and fingers. Go gently taking care not to break up the underlying flesh. Just under the skin you will see there is a brown, fatty layer again remove with your fingers or a spoon.
Place the poached salmon onto a large flat serving dish or wooden board. For best effect decorate with thin overlapping cucumber slices and some fronds of dill. If your fish did not make it through the lifting and skinning unscathed (a poached salmon is quite a delicate thing) you can strategically place the decoration to cover any blemishes.
Serve with a bowl of lemon wedges and a bowl of hollandaise sauce or mayonaise. New potatoes and some salad will be ideal accompaniments.
Poached Salmon in Foil
First heat your oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2.
Next place a large piece of double-width foil on top of a large baking sheet or roasting dish that will allow your fish to lie flat. Brush the foil with oil, then place the salmon in the middle. Season the fish with salt and pepper. For extra flavour you can place some of the onion and dill inside the body cavity.
Next bring up outside edges of the foil to surround the fish, check there are no areas that will leak then pour over the wine.
Seal the foil well all the way round fold and crunch the edges together. The idea here is not to wrap the fish too tightly but to create a sealed tent. Bake in the oven for about 1 hr 30 mins.
Carefully unwrap the foil tent and. To check that it is cooked tug on the dorsal fin (its the one that runs down the back of the fish). When cooked this will detach easily. Reseal the foil tent and leave it to cool – it will cook a little more as it rests. If the salmon is not cooked, return the sealed parcel to the oven for another 10 min.
Once cooked and cool prepare, decorate and serve your poached salmon as above.