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Whole Roasted Salmon for Holiday Entertaining

Salt-crusted whole salmon

Looking for new ideas for entertaining family and friends this holiday season? Try this recipe for salt-roasted whole salmon with wasabi mayo and chile salsa from Eiko’s Executive Chef Jake Rand.

Ingredients: 
1 whole salmon (10-12lbs), gutted, gills removed, scales left on
3 lemons,  quartered
1 lemon, finely sliced
2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced
½ bunch of fresh-flat leaf parsley
½ bunch of sage
½ bunch of fresh chives
18 cups rock salt
2 large eggs

For the wasabi mayo:
1 tube Kewpie Mayo
1 tin dried wasabi powder

For the chilli salsa:
1 fresh red chilli , deseeded
½ bunch fresh mint, leaves picked, stems discarded
1 1/2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the salmon well both inside and out, then pat dry with kitchen paper (leaving the scales on helps to keep in the moisture as it cooks). Finely slice 1 lemon into rounds and stuff into the salmon cavity with the sliced fennel, parsley, marjoram and chives.

Combine the rock salt, eggs and one cup of water in a large bowl, then evenly spread one-third of the salt mixture over a large baking tray (large enough for entire fish to lay flat), making a slight hollow in the middle to hold the salmon snugly. Lay the salmon diagonally into the tray, then spoon over the remaining salt mixture, heaping it around and onto the salmon so that it’s evenly covered – you should have a layer of salt, roughly 2cm thick, all over the salmon.

Place the tray in the hot oven for around 40 minutes, or until cooked through. To test if the salmon is ready, push a skewer through the salt into the thickest part of the fish – if it comes out warm after 5 seconds, it’s done.

Meanwhile, make the wasabi mayo. Mix wasabi powder with warm water until a paste forms. Whisk wasbi into mayo 1 tablespoon at a time until desired astringency is reached.

To make the salsa, finely chop the chilli and mint leaves (discard stems), then place into a bowl with 1½ tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then set aside.

Once cooked, remove the salmon from the oven and allow to cool for around 20 minutes, then with the tip of a knife, carefully slice into the salt, cutting all the way along the salmon spine, being careful not to slice into the fish at this point. Gently lift the salt casing off the salmon, then spoon away and discard the remaining salt, brushing away any excess from the top of the salmon. Transfer the fish to a large platter, then score the skin along the spine, across the tail and under the gill and peel back the skin. Divide up the salmon and serve with the wasbi mayo, chilli salsa and lemon wedges on the side.