Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Cooking salmon and the Bouncy Castle

Somewhat exhausted after son's wedding anniv party held here which included 22 children and their parents, hence bouncy castle above, star guest.
As part of my contribution to the catering, I bought a 2.7 kg whole salmon - even the shopping was tricky as tried 4 or 5 local supermarkets who said either there was not enough time to order (Waitrose) or they wouldn't have one (everybody else except Morrisons who only promised giants) but then on Thursday I found two great fish sitting on the counter at my local Tesco's. Reader, I chose the pretty one. 
Had to cut it in half to cook, one half in my own fish kettle and one in my neighbour's.  I dimly remembered a foolproof poached-salmon if-eating-cold recipe but had thrown away my old tattered Katie Stewart cookbook, so had to check internet. Question was (1) do you boil the water before you put the fish in, then bring back to boil, simmer for a couple of minutes, take off heat and let it cool in liquid for several hours. Or (2) do you bring the water slowly to the boil with fish already in the fish-kettle/pan, then immediately take it off the heat and let it cool in the liquid.  I chose the latter and it worked fine.  I then had another panic about the numbers invited so also bought a whole huge fillet and this too poached beautifully by method 2.  Also at last minute had to borrow enormous plate from neighbour as reassembled whole salmon measured 24 inches.  Disguised joins and neck bits with cucumber and frilly lettuce, scattered more about, and the result was one of my rare domestic goddess moments. Phew. (You can borrow fish kettles from Waitrose and Morrisons, by the way, and I think next time it would be more restful just to buy the whole fillet even if it isn't quite as spectacular as a whole huge fish.)
Later: good news, had not thrown Katie Stewart Times cookbook away after all. Just found it in four or five pieces in one of my bookshelves where I keep old cookbooks (funny that - trouble is, my organizational systems are hit and miss)  Her method for cold salmon is 'Fill any pan with sufficient cold water to cover fish, remove it before bringing water to boil, add salmon, bring back to boil and boil hard for exactly two minutes, cover with tight-fitting lid and leave for 12 hours or until quite cold. This works for any size of salmon or salmon cut.'


Anonymous said...

Am impressed! Catering on that scale is quite something. Glad to see the weather held up for the party.

Jan Jones said...

Colour me VERY impressed, Susie. Can't quite understand why you are not now lying down in a darkened room for a week.

Lesley Cookman said...

I'm going to go and lie down in a darkened room just thinking aout it! Congratulations, Susie. I hope you're not going to do Christmas!

Debs said...

I have a copper fish-kettle, but can assure you I've never used it. Love salmon though and I'll bet everyone enjoyed your catering expertise at the party.

Susie Vereker said...

Thank you for your kind comments. Somewhat irritated to see six whole salmon sitting on the ice in Tesco's the following week after all that hunting for the party.

sablonneuse said...

I've never cooked a whole salmon. thanks for the recipes. Hope you're enjoying a well earned rest now.
Loved the Fascinating Aida video.