Saumon a la Sauce Verte

Saumon a la Sauce Verte (soh-mawn ah lah sohs vairt) makes a very special cold main course for a summer dinner party.

Serve with Parsley Potatoes and accompany it with a well-chilled Alsatian Sylvaner.

1 X 8 lb. salmon, cleaned

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon grated lemon rind

2 bay leaves, crumbled

3 parsley sprigs, coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons fresh thyme or

1 teaspoon dried thyme

4 tablespoons dry white wine

2 tablespoons chopped fresh watercress 4 tablespoons chopped fresh spinach

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

15 fl. oz. mayonnaise

2 fl. oz. double cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 medium-sized round lettuces, outer leaves removed, washed and separated into leaves

8 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced

1 large cucumber, thinly sliced

6 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

6 lemons, cut into wedges

4 oz. stuffed olives

Preheat the oven to warm 325 °F (Gas Mark 3, 170°C).

Rub the inside of the salmon with the salt and pepper and set aside. With

2 tablespoons of olive oil, grease a sheet of aluminium foil large enough to enclose the salmon completely. Lay the foil, greased surface uppermost, on a large baking sheet. Place the salmon on the foil and sprinkle over the lemon rind, bay leaves, parsley and thyme. Fold the two ends of the foil firmly and carefully pour the wine and the remaining olive oil over the fish. Fold the foil over the top of the salmon so that the fish is securely enclosed. Place the baking sheet in the centre of the oven. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the salmon flesh flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Carefully remove the salmon from the sheet and place it on a flat working surface.

Discard the foil and cooking juices. Using a sharp knife, carefully skin the salmon, being careful not to break up the flesh.

Set the salmon aside to cool completely.

While the salmon is cooling, make the sauce. Put the watercress, spinach and parsley in a small saucepan and pour in enough water just to cover. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the contents of the pan into a fine strainer held over a small bowl. Discard the cooking liquid. Place the contents of the strainer in an electric blender and blend to a puree. Set aside to cool.

Pour the mayonnaise and cream into a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add the pureed cress mixture, teaspoon by tea-spoon, stirring well until the sauce is smooth and evenly coloured. Pour the sauce into a sauceboat and set aside. Line a large serving platter with the lettuce leaves and place the salmon in the centre of the platter. Arrange the tomatoes, cucumber, eggs, lemon wedges and olives decoratively over and around the salmon and serve immediately, with the sauce.

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