Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Poached Salmon in Aspic

I remember my first encounter with aspic as a child and it wasn't an auspicious one. The dish was Chicken in Aspic and although beautifully decorated I was very reluctant to taste it. Pale, cold chicken covered in jelly just didn't appeal to a 7 year old me! However I have revisited the notion of aspic recently as I have decided to do a cold poached salmon over Christmas and was looking for something that little bit special to pep it up.

Aspic is a clear savoury jelly made of stock or consommé and gelatine and used to glaze meat, fish or vegetables. It is also used to make a mould and you can even it use a sweet version for desserts. It was an old way of preserving food and recipes for aspic date back several hundred years. Originally aspic was made from stock that set like a jelly when cooled (meat stocks have a high natural gelatin content so will set when cold).

Salmon in Aspic

1 large salmon
court bouillon for poaching
300ml of fish stock
1 egg white and the egg shell
1 tbsp dry sherry
15g powdered gelatine

To make Court Bouillon

Court Bouillon is a flavoured liquid used to poaching foods (usually fish but sometimes vegetables and delicately flavoured meats). It differs to stock in that Court Bouillon has a short cooking time in comparison.

2 pints water
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stick celery, sliced
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
2 bay leaves
pinch of fresh thyme
6 black peppercorns, bruised
½ pint white wine

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for an hour, strain and leave to cool.

Poach the salmon in a fish kettle (or baking pan covered with foil) with the court boullion. Once the salmon is cooked drain off the court boullion into a bowl. Peel the skin off the salmon when it has cooled, leaving the skin on the head and tail. Place on a flat plate and put aside in fridge.

To make the aspic add ½ pint of the court bouillon that the salmon was poached in to the fish stock in a saucepan. Boil so that the liquid is reduced by half. Remove from the heat and whisk in the egg white and add the broken egg shell to clarify. Strain the liquid through a muslin cloth and add the sherry. Stir in the powdered gelatin – keep stirring until it has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Spoon a thin layer of aspic over the salmon. Chill and leave to set. Decorate the salmon with the motif of your choice (you can use thinly sliced cucumber, radish, tomato, red pepper and carrot as well as sprigs of fennel or mint for your design) and then coat with another layer of aspic. Chill. Repeat by adding one last layer of aspic. Allow the Salmon in Aspic to set cold in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Wine Matching
Bordeaux Rosés can accompany a broad spectrum of flavours and are characteristically well balanced wines: smooth, rounded and freshly aromatic.

These crisp and elegant wines have the fruit and body to support full flavoured fish such as salmon and tuna and the acidity to match seafood. They lack the tannins of red wine and can be served chilled at the same temperatures for white wines. Alternatively you could choose a good
Bordeaux White or French Sparkling Wine.


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