Poached Salmon with Cucumber, Chives and Cream

From Simon Hopkinson Cooks recipe book, this poached salmon dish is a real crowdpleaser. The inviting salmon is blended with cucumber, chives, lemon and cream.

Introduction

  

Serves 4

Ingredients

2 cucumbers
4–5 sprigs of parsley, roughly chopped
4–5 sprigs of dill, roughly chopped
1 tsp sea salt
A few peppercorns
1 thumb-size knob of fresh ginger, sliced
1 bay leaf
2 large shallots, sliced
400ml water
150ml Lillet (or dry vermouth)
100g smoked salmon offcuts, roughly chopped
500g salmon fillet
4 leaves of gelatine, soaked in cold water until soft
200ml double cream
Juice of ½ small lemon
Large pinch of cayenne pepper
1 small bunch of chives, finely chopped

Instructions

Peel one of the cucumbers (keep the peel), chop the other into small chunks. Cut the peeled cucumber in half, deseed with a teaspoon then put the cucumber halves in a small plastic bag and keep in the fridge until later. Add the seeds to the peelings and chopped cucumber and put all of this into a stainless-steel pan. Now add the parsley, dill, salt, peppercorns, ginger, bay leaf and shallots to the pan. Cover with the water and pour in the Lillet. Bring up to a boil, then allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the smoked salmon and continue simmering for a further 10 minutes.

Place the fresh salmon in another, smaller stainless-steel pan into which the salmon fits snugly. Using a fine sieve, strain the cucumber/smoked salmon stock directly over the fresh salmon (discard the solids). Place the salmon and stock over a low heat and just bring up to a simmer. Remove from the heat, put on a lid and leave to finish cooking for 15-20 minutes. Have a poke at the fish after 15 minutes to check whether it is cooked through; it should be only just cooked through in the centre. Remove from the stock and put on to a plate. Once cooled a little, carefully remove any skin and unsightly brown parts. Cover with clingfilm and cool completely before putting in the fridge.

Bring the stock to a simmer, remove any unsightly scum that rises to the surface, then allow to reduce by about a quarter. Add the soaked gelatine, stir in and pour into a bowl. After about 10 minutes, stir in the cream, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. Now place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours, or more. This, eventually, will be a sauce for the salmon.

Remove the reserved, peeled cucumber from the fridge and slice into little half-moon shapes. Strew these over the base of a shallow serving dish to cover it evenly, then lightly season with salt and pepper. Break up the salmon with your fingers and lay over the cucumber. Remove the ‘sauce’ from the fridge and whisk (an electric hand-whisk is best for this) until absolutely smooth and creamy, then briefly whisk in the chives. Carefully spoon over the salmon until fully coated. Return to the fridge until ready to serve; if possible, for at least 15 minutes or so, to give the sauce a little time to set once again. You may, of course, leave it in the fridge until you are ready to serve, but not longer than an hour or so. Buttered new potatoes and a watercress salad would go well here.

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