Salmon in Aspic

One of the most elegant dishes to present at dinner party or cold buffet, Salmon in Aspic is worth all the preparation involved. Serve this spectacular dish with a selection of salads and tiny boiled new potatoes.

1 X 8 lb. salmon, cleaned

5J pints water

10 fl. oz. dry white wine

2 carrots, scraped and cut INTO 1-inch lengths

2 celery stalks, trimmed and cut INTO 1-inch lengths

3 shallots or small onions, halved

12 black peppercorns bouquet garni, consisting of

4 parsley sprigs,

1 thyme spray and

1 bay leaf tied together

1 ½ tablespoons salt

3 lemon slices

1 oz. gelatine dissolved in

2 tablespoons hot water

2 egg whites

2 egg shells

3 fl. oz. dry sherry

15 fl. oz.

½ cups mayonnaise

2 thin strips cucumber skin

1 thick strip cucumber skin, cut into leaf shapes

2 radishes, thinly sliced

1 black olive, halved

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced and degorged

3 medium-sized firm tomatoes, blanched, peeled, halved and seeded

8 oz. prawns or shrimps, shelled and deveined

Wash the salmon in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper towels.

Pour the water and wine into a fish kettle large enough to hold the fish, and place the salmon on the rack. Carefully lower the rack into the kettle. Add the carrots, celery, shallots or small onions, peppercorns, bouquet garni, salt and lemon and bring to the boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the fish for 12 minutes.

Remove the kettle from the heat, cover it, and set aside for 3 to 4 hours or until Arrange two/lower patterns using the cucumber skin, radishes and olives on top of the aspic coated salmon.

Spoon over another layer of aspic, being careful not to disturb theflovoer patterns. Chill until the aspic is set.

Place the salmon on a serving dish, arrange the garnishes and the chopped aspic around the edge. the liquid is cold and the flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Lift the fish carefully out of the kettle and place it on a working surface. Strain the cooking liquid into a bowl, discarding the contents of the strainer.

Using a sharp knife, carefully skin the salmon, being careful not to break up the flesh. Transfer the salmon to a large board and set aside while you prepare the aspic.

Pour 1 pint of the fish cooking liquid into a medium-sized enamel saucepan. Discard any remaining cooking liquid. Stir in the dissolved gelatine. Whisk the egg whites and shells into the liquid and place the pan over high heat. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil, stop whisking. Allow the liquid to rise to the top of the pan and then remove it from the heat.

When the liquid subsides, return the pan to low heat and simmer the stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the liquid to cool for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid carefully and slowly through the egg white crust and a strainer lined with a scalded cloth into a bowl. Be careful not to break the egg white crust. If the stock is not clear, repeat the straining process 2 or 3 times until it is completely clear.

Stir in the sherry and leave the aspic to cool. When it is cool, place it in the refrigerator to chill until it is almost on the point of setting.

Using a spatula or flat-bladcd knife, spread the mayonnaise over the salmon, ensuring that the surface is smooth. Remove the aspic from the refrigerator and carefully spread a little over the salmon. Place the salmon in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes or until the aspic has set. Remove the fish from the refrigerator and, using the cucumber skin, radishes and olive, make 2 flower patterns on the salmon. Spoon over another layer of aspic, being careful not to disturb the flower patterns, and return the salmon to the refrigerator until the aspic has set. Spread the remaining aspic on a medium-sized baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to set completely.

Using two spatulas or fish slices carefully transfer the salmon to a large serving dish. Garnish the dish with the cucumber slices. Fill each tomato half with the prawns or shrimps and arrange the tomatoes around the fish. Remove the reserved aspic from the refrigerator and chop it up into small cubes. Place a tablespoon of aspic between each tomato half and serve immediately, or return the dish to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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