This dish comes from what I thought was one of those urban myths, that
you can poach fish in the sink. I’d heard about it but never seen it
done so I thought I’d give it a go for a dinner party and it works so
well. It’s basically reverse poaching. Traditionally you put fish into a
pan of cold water and bring up the heat. This way you put the salmon in
hot water and let it cool. It’s great if you don’t have a salmon kettle
for a whole fish and works well with any other whole fish, such as
3-4 kg Atlantic salmon
The court bouillon or poaching liquor
10 litres of tap water
500ml of white wine vinegar
1 onion sliced
10 white or black peppercorns
2 bay leaf fresh or dry
Carrots roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
Celery roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
Fennel if available roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces
4 cloves of garlic each split into two
Handful of parsley stalks
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.
Take a large pot put in all the ingredients, bring to the boil &
simmer for 20 minutes.
If you do not have one large pot, split the ingredients into four pots
as I did for this photo shoot.
Whilst the court bouillon is simmering, give your kitchen sink a jolly
good scrub with washing up liquid & hot water. Making sure the sink
is well rinsed to remove all remnants of the liquid soap. The last thing
we want is the salmon blowing bubbles.
Place the whole salmon in the sink and gently rinse for a few moments
under cold water.
Position the fish in the sink in a curved fashion, which is generally
unavoidable as no one, I know has a sink that can physically fit a fish
of these proportions into a domestic sink.
You can help the fish by gently bringing the tail to the nose but it
should follow the path of least resistance naturally in your sink giving
it an attractive curve.
Place a plug in the sink & turn up the heat on the pans of court
bouillon & make sure the liquid is boiling enthusiastically then
pour it over the salmon. You may find that the fish is not quite covered
by the bouillon so make sure you have a kettle of boiling water ready
to top up the sink as the fish needs to be completely covered. It may
even require two kettles worth depending on the size of sink and the
Place a good quality heavy aluminium foil over the sink to form a lid.
The sheets of foil should well exceed the size of the sink & pressed
down as tightly as possible to your worktop to create an air tight seal
which will help retain the heat of the bouillon which eventually albeit
slowly cooks your salmon to perfection. You can help the foil by
placing wet tea towels rolled up & dampened to weigh down the foil
around the sink but it is not always necessary.
Leave in the sink for at least one hour & 20 minutes. It is possible
to leave it in there for up to 2 hours depending how well cooked you
would like. I would leave it in for one hour & 30 minutes then with a
large pair of tongs pull out the plug & leave to cool.
Carefully lift out the salmon with a friend as you need 2 pairs of hands and serve on a large platter with home made mayonnaise & fresh