Whole Poached Salmon with Watercress & Avocado Mayonnaise

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Whole Poached Salmon with Watercress & Avocado Mayonnaise was really the start of our Elegant Easter Dinner! Get the salmon at least a day in advance by pre-ordering at specialty stores, I got mine at  Citarella. Funny enough I was worried about the presentation so much that I actually had to cut off a part of the tail to make it fit into the poacher. If you find yourself in the same situation, don’t worry, simply cook the tail separately in the same water and attach it to the rest of the fish when serving. The tail, center and sides of the fish will be partially covered with cucumber slices resembling the fish scales.

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My  salmon was 7 ½ pounds, quite large to fit into the poacher but guaranteed to feed the crowd. Once poached, carefully lift the rack with the fish from the water and peel the skin with the back of a knife and your fingers while the fish is still hot. Let it cool slightly, cover and refrigerate overnight. On the day of the party dress the fish with thinly sliced (I used the mandoline) round  cucumber slices and stuff the cavity with  fresh watercress and  lemon wedges. Watercress greens add a fresh spicy bite as well as the refreshing colors to the plate. Serve the moist tender meat of  salmon along with delicious  Avocado Mayonnaise with Grated Cucumber, Dill & Capers!

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Ingredients:  whole salmon, carrots, celery ribs, leek, onion, garlic cloves, lemons, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, peppercorns, dry white wine, avocados, mayonnaise, lemon, cucumber, dill, chives, capers,watercress, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Cut the root end and the dark green parts off the leek, reserving its white and pale green part only. Cut the leek in half lengthwise, fan open it and wash under the cold running water to get rid of any dirt, soil or sand. No need to dry, cut into ½-inch pieces.

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Peeled the carrots and cut into ½-inch pieces.

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Repeat the same with the onion and celery ribs.

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For the fish: Set fish poacher over two burners on the stove. Pour enough cold water into a poacher to hold the salmon (6-8 cups). Add carrots, celery, leek, onion, garlic, lemons, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and peppercorns, kosher salt and wine, bring to a boil. Continue cooking the bouillon for 15 minutes.

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Poaching timer: measure depth of fish at thickest part of the body by placing poaching timer next to fish and poaching exactly 10 minutes per inch. The timer usually comes with the poacher.

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Place salmon on the rack and lower it slowly into the water so that the rack rests on vegetables. Tip: Cut the tail if the fish doesn’t fit and cook it separately in the same water once the fish is done.

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Bring water back to a boil; reduce the heat to low, it should be simmering gently. Cover poacher with a lid or tin foil, and poach the salmon 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Lift salmon on the rack from the water and transfer to a work surface. Remove the skin while the fish is still hot, using small paring knife and your fingers. Carefully cut out the bones along the back and remove the fins.

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Once cooled, carefully slide salmon onto a serving platter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled or overnight.

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Ingredients for the mayonnaise.

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Scoop out avocados’ flesh into a food processor.

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Add mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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Blend to combine.

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Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Grate ½ small cucumber, squeeze extra liquid with paper towels and add to the mayonnaise. Add capers and chives, stir to combine. Chill for up to 4 hours.

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Thinly slice  cucumber on a mandoline or with a sharp knife.

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Carefully cut out the bones along the back and remove the fins.

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To serve: For beautiful presentation, keep the head and tail intact. If you had to cut the tail to fit salmon into a poacher, at this point attach it to the fish on the serving platter. Cover the tail with slightly overlapping cucumber slices to hide the cut.

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Cucumber slices will resemble the fish scale; place the rest along the sides and the center of salmon. Garnish the slices with dill or fennel sprigs.

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Stuff the cavity with watercress and lemon wedges and tuck the rest around the entire fish.

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Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Whole Poached Salmon with Watercress & Avocado Mayonnaise

recipe details

Serves 8-10

Ingredients

For the salmon

  • 7-8 lb. whole salmon, wild-caught, glutted and scaled,
  • 2 carrots, peeled, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 medium leek, light green part only, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 lemons, thinly slices
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 3 oregano sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup dry white wine 

For the mayonnaise 

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer French)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ small cucumber, grated, water squeezed out with the paper towel
  • 2 tablespoons dill, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

For garnishing

  • 2 bunches of watercress, washed thoroughly
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • ½ cucumber, sliced thinly on mandoline 

Directions

  1. Poaching timer: measure depth of fish at thickest part of body by placing poaching timer next to fish and poaching exactly 10 minutes per inch.
  2. For the fish: Set fish poacher over two burners on the stove. Pour enough cold water into a poacher to hold the salmon (6 cups). Add carrots, celery, leek, onion, garlic, lemons, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, and peppercorns, salt and wine, bring to a boil. Continue cooking the bouillon for 15 minutes.
  3. Place salmon on the rack and lower it slowly into the water so that the rack rests on vegetables. Tip: Cut the tail if the fish doesn’t fit and cook it separately in the same water once the fish is done.
  4. Bring water back to a boil; reduce the heat to low, the water should simmer gently. Cover poacher with a lid or tin foil, and poach the salmon 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Lift salmon on the rack from the water and transfer to a work surface. Remove the skin while the fish is still hot, using small paring knife and your fingers. Carefully cut out the bones along the back and remove the fins.
  5. Once cooled, carefully slide salmon onto a serving platter and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled or overnight.
  6. Make the mayonnaise: Scoop out avocados flesh into food processor, add mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend to combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Grate ½ small cucumber, squeeze extra liquid with paper towels and add to the mayonnaise. Add capers and chives, stir to combine. Chill for up to 4 hours.
  7. To serve: For beautiful presentation, keep the head and tail intact. If you had to cut the tail to fit salmon into a poacher, at this point attach it to the fish on the serving platter. Cover the tail with slightly overlapping cucumber slices to hide the cut. Cucumber slices resemble the fish scale; place the rest along the sides and the center of salmon. Garnish cucumber slices with dill or fennel sprigs.
  8. Stuff the cavity with watercress and lemon wedges and tuck the rest around the entire fish.

share your thoughts

2 thoughts on “Whole Poached Salmon with Watercress & Avocado Mayonnaise”

  1. The decor was exquisite as usual. No detail was left out. It was specially impressive given the variety of appetizers and dishes served during the dinner party.
    We loved everything!

    1. Hello Natashen’ka, thank you for your nice comment. We love having you guys over, it was a great evening and company is all that matters. Look forward to seeing you soon!

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