Baked Salmon Trout (Truite saumonée au four)

This French inspired fish dish from Elizabeth David is ideal for a dinner party. The buttery salmon trout is poached and served with your choice of sauce and side dish.

At Elizabeth David's Table
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Introduction

Few of us now possess fish kettles in which a large whole fish can be poached, but the system of wrapping the fish in greaseproof paper or foil and cooking it in the oven produces, if anything, better results. Sea bass (loup de mer) is excellent cooked in the same way.

Ingredients

1 whole salmon trout
Butter
To make Escoffier's Walnut and Horseradish Sauce (see Instructions):
60g / 2oz shelled and skinned walnuts
150ml / ¼ pint thick cream
2 tbsp freshly and finely grated horseradish
1 tsp sugar
A little salt
The juice of ½ lemon

Instructions

Cut a piece of aluminium foil about 15cm/6 inches longer than your salmon trout. Butter it copiously, or if the fish is to be served cold, paint it with oil. Lay the fish in the middle, gather up the edges and twist them together, so that no juices can escape. Also twist the two ends very securely, taking particular care that the paper touching the tail and the head is well buttered or oiled, as these are the parts which stick easily.

Have your oven already heated for 10 minutes at a very low temperature, l40°C/gas I. Place your wrapped fish on a baking sheet and leave it severely alone for the whole cooking time – 1 hour for a 1-kg/2-lb fish. All you have to do when it is cooked is to lay it on a warmed serving dish, unwrap the paper and slide the fish and all its juices off the paper on to the dish. A hot salmon trout does not really need any sauce other than its own juices and a little bowl of fresh melted butter. If it is to be served cold, have with it a sauce verte or, best of all, I think, Escoffier’s horseradish and walnut-flavoured sauce (instructions below). It also makes serving easier if the skin is removed while the fish is still warm; this is not difficult so long as the fish has not been overcooked but, of course, it must be done gently and patiently.

There is one more point. A cold salmon trout eaten a couple of hours after it is cooked is infinitely superior to one cooked and kept until the following day.

To make Escoffier's Walnut and Horseradish sauce:

To skin the walnuts, pour boiling water over them and rub off the skins as soon as they are cool enough to handle. It is a tedious operation but, having compared the sauce made with unskinned walnuts to the original version, there is no question but that the latter is very much finer. It is an example of how a shortcut in cooking can be taken only to the detriment of the final result.

Having skinned the walnuts, then, chop them finely. Stir them very lightly into the cream and add the horseradish. Add the seasonings, and lastly the lemon juice.

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