Whole Poached Salmon

A whole poached salmon is a spectacular dish and makes the perfect centrepiece at a buffet.

If you don't have a fish kettle, use a large roasting tin, cover tightly with foil and cook as below or place in an oven at Gas Mark 4/180°C/fan oven 160°C for about 1 hour.

Preparation: 45 minutes + overnight cooling + chilling

Plus: Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1.75kg Fresh whole Salmon, gutted
  • For Court Bouillon (poaching stock)
  • 150ml Dry White Wine
  • 8 Peppercorns
  • 1 Small Onion, sliced
  • 1 Carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 2–3 Parsley Stalks
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 Lime, sliced

To serve

  • 2 Limes, sliced finely
  • Stuffed Eggs
  • Sprigs of Dill
  • Green mayonnaise sauce


  1. Prepare the salmon. Using the back of a knife, held at an angle, scrape the scales from the whole fish, working from the tail to the head.
  2. Rinse under cold, running water to remove the scales and all traces of blood from the backbone. Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper.
  3. Use a pair of scissors to cut off the salmon's fins from its sides, along its back and belly. Snip the tail into a V shape.
  4. Place the salmon on the trivet and lower it into the fish kettle.
  5. Pour over the white wine and just enough water to cover, then add the rest of the court bouillon ingredients.
  6. Cover and bring the liquid slowly to the boil (approximately 15 minutes). Simmer for 1 minute per 450g of weight.
  7. Turn off the gas or, if using an electric cooker, take the fish kettle off the hot plate.
  8. Allow the salmon to cool in its liquor overnight or for several hours. Do not be tempted to lift the lid in the early stages of cooling.
  9. Once cold, lift the salmon on the trivet out of the fish kettle and allow it to drain for a few minutes.
  10. Lift the fish off the trivet and place it on a large board, flat side uppermost.
  11. Using a sharp knife, ease the skin gently away from the flesh and transfer the salmon to a flat serving dish, turning it over.
  12. Remove the skin from the other side, but leave the head and tail on for a buffet presentation.
  13. Chill the salmon in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  14. Decorate the salmon with slices of lime arranged in an attractive row down the centre of the fish.
  15. Place the eggs around the edge of the platter with sprigs of dill in between.
  16. Serve the Green mayonnaise sauce separately in a sauceboat.

Freezing not recommended


To enhance the presentation of the salmon, you could serve it on a sheet of mirror glass or a shiny oval catering plate.

This recipe is from WI Complete Christmas by Sian Cook & Margaret Williams and published by Simon & Schuster in 2010 ISBN 978-0-85720-028-0- priced £12.99

For a complete list of all WI books please send a sae to WIE 104 New Kings Road, London SW6 4LY