WHOLE POACHED SALMON
Yield: Approximately 12 servings
6-7 pound salmon, head and tail intact, insides cleaned
2 cloves garlic, split
1 onion, chopped coarse
3 ribs celery, chopped coarse
2 carrots, cut up
8 pink peppercorns, bruised
1 bay leaf
A few sprigs fresh dill weed, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups water
Juice of 1 lemon
Handful of fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
||Combine all ingredients except the salmon in a poacher or roasting pan. Bring to a boil and turn heat to medium-high. Cover and boil gently 10 minutes.
||Lightly salt and pepper the inside of the fish. Spread a double layer of cheesecloth on a flat surface and set the fish on top. Bring the sides up over the fish to overlap. Pull the fish up by the cheesecloth and lower it into the boiling water. Return the water to a boil again. Cover and lower heat to medium. Gently boil (poach) 8 minutes to the pound, making sure the water is not boiling too hard or is too still. When a fork inserted separates the flesh behind the gills, it is done. Do not overcook, or the fish will be dry.
||Pull up the cheesecloth and set it on a platter. Gently roll the fish out. Remove the eyes with a spoon and replace them with black or green olives. Surround them with thin strips of red pimento. Serve warm or refrigerate until very cold. Decorate the platter with thin slices of cucumber and slices of lemon and hard boiled eggs. Serve with Cucumber-Dill Sauce. (Recipe, page)
|NOTE: The tradition - or superstition - of indulging in great quantities of fish on the eve and first day of each year was supposed to insure a year of plenty and prosperity. Gifts from the sea have been the source of livelihood and sustenance for every country that bordered the sea throughout the ages.