If your budget is limited, farmed salmon remains an ideal, affordable way of feeding people generously at a large party. But it can taste bland so you must pay attention to added flavour. The combination of bay leaves (which go surprisingly well with fish) and citrus rind and juice is most effective, and makes a delicious sauce with creamy smatana. Creamed smatana is a cultured milk product, similar to rich whole-milk yoghurt. It is available at supermarkets and always makes a good alternative to double cream, with the bonus of being about a third of the price.
Using a sharp knife, make deep, slanting cuts across the salmon, about
Meanwhile, make the smatana sauce. Bring the fish cooking juices to the boil in the saucepan and boil fiercely for a few minutes until reduced by about a third. Cool slightly, then put the creamed smatana into a bowl, gradually stir in the cooking juices and season to taste with salt and cayenne pepper. Cover and leave in the fridge.
To serve, open the foil again and carefully transfer the fish to a large serving dish. Garnish with a border of pretty salad leaves, if liked — you can also garnish the centre of the salmon with thin slices of lemon. Pour the smatana sauce into serving jugs.
© 1997 Josceline Dimbleby. All rights reserved.