This method of preparing salmon can feed a large group of people easily. I prefer to poach salmon on the bone as it retains its moisture that way, but most people prefer not to deal with bones. My recipe calls for already boned salmon, but you will need two pieces, one on top of the other, to approximate the thickness of salmon with intact bones. You can poach the salmon the day before serving.
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The court bouillon can be strained after using and refrigerated or frozen up to six months. Add water to top it up.
Approximately 6 cups court bouillon (recipe below)
2 2-pound (1-kilo) centre cut salmon, bone removed, skin on
Salt and freshly ground pepper
6 cups water
½ cup dry white wine
¼ cup wine vinegar
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 bay leaf
3 stalks parsley
4 star anise
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
Preheat oven to 450 F. Season each piece of salmon and place one on top of the other, thinner edge to thicker. Wrap salmon in cheesecloth and place in buttered baking dish. Measure salmon vertically at its thickest part. Bring court bouillon to simmer and pour over fish. It should come three quarters of the way up the fish or it will not poach evenly.
Cover dish tightly with foil and place on baking sheet. Transfer to oven and cook for 6 minutes per inch. Remove from oven, uncover and carefully turn fish over and cool in broth.
Place on serving platter using the cheesecloth to help with the transfer. Undo cheesecloth and remove top layer of skin. Using cheesecloth, turn salmon over and place skinned side down on serving platter. Remove cheesecloth and top layer of skin.
Slice cucumber thinly with a mandolin or slicer. Bring a pot of water to boil, immerse cucumber slices and bring back to boil. Immediately drain. Pat cucumber slices dry. Place on top of fish, overlapping the pieces to simulate scales. Decorate platter with lemon slices and watercress.
Slice through the centre of salmon to divide in half, then cut into portions and serve with green herb mayonnaise (see recipe below).
Bring all the ingredients to a boil in a large pot on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.