- whole salmon (about 2kg), scaled, gutted and washed
With its delicate, sweet flesh and wide availability, salmon is one of the most popular fish.…
- 3 small lemon, thickly sliced
Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…
- 100ml olive oil
Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…
- 4-6 fresh bay leaves
- few sprigs each fresh rosemary, thyme, basil, sage and parsley
Rosemary's intense, fragrant aroma has traditionally been paired with lamb, chicken and game…
- 2-3 lemongrass stalks, cut into large pieces
- 1 head garlic, halved horizontally
Part of the lily, or alium, family, of which onions are also a member, garlic is one of the most…
- 1 tsp peppercorns, mixed or black
- 5-6 whole star anise
Star anise is one of the central spices in Chinese cooking. It has a strong anise flavour, with…
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Trim salmon tail and cut off the fins. Pat dry inside and out with kitchen paper. Score the skin of the fish on both sides with a sharp knife, at 2-3cm intervals. Rub all over with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay three large pieces of foil over a large baking tray, overlapping the long edges. Heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan, then fry lemon slices over a high heat for 2-3 mins until golden. Season; allow to cool slightly. Scatter a handful of herbs and lemongrass over foil, then sit salmon on top. Tuck caramelised lemon, herbs and garlic around and inside fish, splash over a little oil and scatter over salt, peppercorns and star anise.
Fold the foil around the fish to make a shallow tent, scrunching the edges well to seal. Cook in the centre of the oven for 30-35 mins, depending on the thickness of the salmon. Remove from the oven and rest the fish for at least 10 mins, still wrapped in foil.
Unwrap the fish and gently peel away the skin using a cutlery knife and discard. Use the handle of a spoon to scrape off any brown flesh on top of the pink flesh, then push the spoon head into the groove that runs along the length of the fillet, easing the flesh into two long strips. Push the spoon into the flesh where it joins the backbone, lifting it off the bone. Break the fish on the first side into 4 portions and lift onto serving plates. When the top half is served, pull off the backbone and head and serve the rest. Drain the juices into a small jug. Serve with caramelised lemons and a drizzle of the juices.
Baked salmon is at its best when the thickest part of the flesh near the head is still very slightly soft, moist and bright pink. Letting the fish rest while still wrapped in foil helps the flesh firm up for easy carving.