Cold Poached Salmon, Glazed with Cucumber and Fresh Mint Jelly

Ingredients

  • 4 lb / 1.80 leg salmon (or salmon trout), gutted
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • large bunch of mint
  • 4 leaves gelatine or 4 tsp powdered gelatine

Court Bouillon

  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • handful of parsley stalks
  • 2 sprigs thyme or tarragon
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • 1bottle dry white wine
  • 3 pt / 1.70 l water
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 tsp sea salt

Method

First make the court bouillon. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain into a jug, and allow to cool slightly.

Put the fish on the rack in a fish kettle, and pour the court bouillon over it, adding more water to cover if necessary. Bring gently to the point where the surface of the water bubbles just two or three times, then turn the heat down as low as possible. Cover and poach for 35 minutes. Lift the rack out of the kettle, and gently ease the fish on to a large board or platter for serving. Allow to cool before skinning.

While the fish is poaching, prepare the cucumbers by peeling them as thinly as possible with a vegetable peeler. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds. Slice as thinly as possible, put in a sieve over a bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Leave for 30 minutes, and then rinse and press dry between layers of kitchen paper.

While the fish is cooling, make the mint jelly. Put 1 pt / 570 ml. of the fish cooking liquid in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Put in about 1 oz / 30 g mint, stalks and leaves, keeping the best sprigs for garnish. Simmer for 1 minute, and then remove from the heat. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, and then strain. Soften the gelatine in a little water or stock, and then stir it into the infused stock until dissolved. Pour into a jug set in a bowl of ice cubes to encourage it to cool as quickly as possible, but do not allow it to set completely. To glaze the salmon and the cucumber, it should be firm, yet still enough of a liquid consistency to be painted on with a pastry brush.

Skin the salmon and blot off any excess moisture. Brush on a layer of jelly, and when it is tacky, begin to arrange the cucumber over the fish to resemble scales.

Dip each piece of cucumber into the jelly first. Brush a final layer of jelly over the cucumber scales, and allow to set. Pour the remaining jelly into a shallow dish, and when set, chop it finely. Garnish the platter with sprigs of mint and chopped jelly, together with other decorative edible flowers and herbs.

Variation

Serve the poached salmon hot with a sauce made by boiling about ¾ pt / 430 ml of the court bouillon until reduced by half, and then stirring in 4 tablespoons of capers and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar; reduce a little more, then gradually stir in cubes of unsalted butter until a creamy sauce is formed.

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