Salmon Trafalgar

I suspect this dish is older than 1812 and was renamed in the wave of patriotism that surrounded Nelson’s victory. The elderberries make an unusual sauce which I like very much.

It also satisfies my need to do something with my elderberries.


  • a 1.3 kg/3 lb salmon trout or young salmon
  • 115 g/4 oz butter, melted
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and freshly ground pepper

For the white fish sauce

  • 25 g/1 oz butter
  • 25 g/1 oz plain flour
  • white wine or fish stock
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 25 g/1 oz capers, chopped

For the Elderberry Sauce

  • 1.3 kg/3 lb elderberries (to make about 600 ml/1 pint of syrup)
  • 6 cloves
  • 25 g/1 oz fresh root ginger
  • white sugar


First make the elderberry sauce: place the fruit in a basin and bruise with a wooden spoon. Add 1 dessertspoon water, then cook in a double boiler or in a basin set over a pan of boiling water until the juices flow freely. Pulp again by mashing with a spoon. Strain through a jelly bag.

Wrap the cloves and ginger in a muslin bag, add to the strained juice and simmer for 15 minutes. Add 350 g/12 oz white sugar to each 600 ml/1 pint of juice and stir until it has dissolved. Discard the muslin bag. Bottle the sauce in sterilised jars. Stopper, then immerse in a deep pan of simmering water for 20 minutes. Cool and store.

Have your fishmonger clean your salmon, skin it and fillet it into two fillets. (Before you accuse me of elitism, I do this myself.) Place the fillets in a buttered ovenproof dish, add the melted butter and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 15-20 minutes.

Make a roux with the butter and flour and add the cooking juices from the fish, made up to 300ml½pint with some white wine or fish stock. Add the parsley and capers and heat through. Add elderberry sauce to taste. If you prefer a thinner, simple sauce, just add the parsley and capers to the cooking juices, reduce and flavour with some of the elderberry sauce. Serve the fish with the sauce poured over it.