This dish can be the pièce de résistance of a Christmas buffet table. Salmon or ocean trout has a huge advantage over the traditional roasts. It is quick and easy to cook, needs no carving, it is very good for you and, to top it off, its delicate pink flesh looks most inviting on a hot day. Try this recipe for this year’s Christmas feast.
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 3.3 kg fresh whole Atlantic salmon or ocean trout
- 1 lemon, sliced
- thyme sprigs
- 3 egg yolks
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 1½ tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
- 1 tbsp finely chopped basil
- 1 tbsp finely chopped dill
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking dish with foil. Sprinkle the dish with half of the salt. Lay the fish on top and place lemon slices and thyme sprigs in the cavity. If you like, tie the fish using kitchen string. Sprinkle with more thyme and the remaining salt. Cover loosely with foil and cook for 30–40 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the herb mayonnaise, blend the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard in a food processor until combined. With the motor running, gradually add ¼ cup of the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, processing well after each addition, until the mixture starts to thicken.
Add the remaining oil in a thin, steady stream until thick and smooth. Add the herbs, process until combined and season to taste.
Make a shallow cut into the skin around the top of the tail section, along the back of the fish and across the start of the head section. Carefully pull away the skin. Transfer to a serving plate, draining off any juice. Serve at room temperature with the herb mayonnaise.
Decorate with fresh herbs, lemon wedges and cucumber slices.
• Fish is cooked when eyes are white and a skewer inserted into the thickest part feels warm when tested on your lip or back of wrist. To serve, use a large knife and fork cut down the centre of the fish and remove serving size pieces from the head down to the bone. Ease pieces off each side of the cut avoiding bones. Turn fish to repeat with other side.
Recipe from Margaret Fulton Christmas by Margaret Fulton, with photographs by Mark Roper. Published by Hardie Grant Books.