Whole salmon can be roasted, barbecued and baked in a salt crust but by far the most common way of cooking a salmon whole is poaching.
A whole poached salmon is a magnificent centrepiece for a summer celebration. Traditionally decorated with thin slices of cucumber and served with new potatoes and hollandaise sauce, it’s a bit of an eighties throwback but it is a really simple yet impressive way to cater for a lot of people and as it can be cooked in advance, it can be a great stress-free option for a buffet.
To save time (and mess), ask your fishmonger to gut and scale the salmon and remove the fins for you.
Poaching salmon whole is normally done in a fish kettle but a roasting tray covered tightly with foil will also work if you don’t have one.
Alternatively you could roast the salmon, either in the oven or on a barbecue; this will give a much richer flavour. Stuff the cavity of the fish with lemon and herbs and wrap tightly in foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 180˚C/gas mark 4. To check that it’s cooked, pierce the deepest part of the fish for 10 seconds then lay the skewer on the back of your hand – it should be warm to the touch.
Galton Blackiston’s Salt-baked salmon is cooked in a salt crust to retain the moisture of the fish.