By Gabrielle Gate
This dish is a whole salmon steamed in herbs and wine. It’s then left to cool, the skin is removed and the top is decorated with flowers made of food. It makes a wonderful centrepiece for a Christmas buffet. Serve with mayonnaise.
2.5 kg whole salmon, with scales intact
½ cup dry white wine
10 to 12 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs lemon thyme
2 sprigs tarragon
1 hard-boiled egg
2 black olives
Preheat oven to 220°C. Check that the inside of the salmon is clean, line a large baking tray with baking paper and brush the paper with a little olive oil. Lay the salmon on top of the baking paper. Add ½ cup cold water and white wine to the tray and place parsley, thyme and tarragon on either side of the fish. Seal the tray with foil, place in the preheated oven and cook for about 40 minutes, adding more water to the tray during the cooking, if necessary.
Allow the salmon to cool in the tray. If it is not to be used immediately, allow the fish to cool, then refrigerate until required. Otherwise, using a small paring knife gently cut through the skin (not the flesh) around the head of the fish. Then cut through the skin along the backbone from head to tail. Lastly cut through the skin near the tail.
Using your fingers, very carefully peel off the skin of the salmon. Using a long spatula, turn the fish and remove the skin from the other side. Pull out the back fins and place the fish on a serving platter.
To decorate: Detach a few of the leek leaves and add them to boiling water for 1 minute, then drain and cool in cold water. Using a small knife, cut a long strip of leek, which will form the stem of a flower, then cut small leaf shapes.
Cut a few slices of hard-boiled egg white to form the petals of the flower. Lastly, cut a small slice of tomato skin, which will be the centre of the flower, and a small thin slice of olive to place in the centre of the tomato skin.
Serves 15-20 as an entrée
Serves 10-12 as a main course
"recipes from Wild Water and Woodsmoke, available for purchase from The Salmon Shop"