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How to poach salmon

Learn how to poach a side of salmon for a deliciously soft and tender result. Just a few simple steps stand between you and this impressive fish centrepiece, which is perfect for feeding a crowd.

Serves: 4-8
Time: 20 mins to prepare and 20 mins to cook

500g boneless half salmon side or 1kg whole salmon side
4 spring onions, roughly chopped
1 lemon, sliced
handful flat-leaf parsley, plus extra (roughly chopped) to garnish
3 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp sea salt flakes
100ml white wine


  1. Preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C.
  2. Choose a fresh half or whole side of salmon: a 1kg whole side feeds 8, a 500g half side of salmon feeds 4.
  3. Cut a piece of tin foil twice the length of the salmon. Fold the foil several times lengthways to create a thick strip roughly the same width as the salmon.
  4. Lay the foil lengthways down a deep roasting tin that is just larger than the salmon with the ends overhanging the tin. Lay the salmon lengthways on top of the foil skin-side down.
  5. Scatter 4 chopped spring onions, 1 sliced lemon, a handful of flat-leaf parsley, 3 bay leaves, 1 tsp black peppercorns and 1 tsp sea salt flakes around the salmon.
  6. Pour 100ml white wine over the salmon.
  7. Pour 1-1½ litre just-boiled water over the salmon, ensuring the fish is just covered with the liquid.
  8. Cover the whole tin in a layer of foil and fold over the overhanging ends of the foil strip.
  9. Bake for 20 mins until cooked through. The salmon is cooked when the fish flakes easily and the middle is opaque.
  10. Uncover, then use the long strip of foil to lift out the salmon, holding the foil strip at each end. Transfer to a tray.
  11. Cover the tray with a board and flip the salmon over so the foil and skin are on top. Discard the foil and peel off the skin.
  12. Place a serving platter over the salmon and flip over again so the top of the fish is back on top.
  13. Serve whole, scattered with fresh herbs, or cool and flake or cut into portions.

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