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Salmon with fennel mayonnaise

Pernod is a French aniseed-tasting drink and is available in miniature-sized bottles. When water is added to Pernod, it turns quite white and cloudy.

ingredients

serves 8
1.8 kg (4 lb) fresh salmon, cleaned and trimmed with head and tail left on
1.5 litre (2 1/2 pints) water
175 ml (6 fl oz) dry white wine
1 small onion, finely sliced
1 lemon slice
2 sprigs fresh fennel
1 parsley sprig
1 bay leaf
6 whole black peppercorns
generous pinch of salt

fennel mayonnaise

150 ml (1/4 pint) thick bottled mayonnaise
4 tablespoons chopped fresh fennel
1 teaspoon Pernod

to garnish

1 slice stuffed olive (optional)
1 large unpeeled cucumber, thinly sliced
8 small lettuce leaves finely chopped
fresh fennel sprigs
fresh fennel

method

1. Pour the water and wine into a large saucepan, then add the onion, lemon slice, fennel, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Cool then strain.

2. Put the salmon into a fish kettle or a large roasting tin and pour over the strained stock. Bring to boil, then turn to the lowest possible heat, cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes until the fish flakes with a fork. Remove the pan from heat and leave fish, still covered, to cool in the liquid overnight.

3. Make the fennel mayonnaise: put the mayonnaise in a bowl with the fennel and Pernod and mix well together. Cover and refrigerate.

4. When the fish is completely cold, dampen a sheet of greaseproof paper with water. Remove the fish carefully from the cooking liquid with 2 fish slices, then transfer to the dampened greaseproof paper.

5. Using the tip of a round-bladed knife, carefully peel off and discard the skin.

6. Roll the fish gently over and remove the skin from the other side, then gently scrape away any bones along sides of fish. Transfer fish to a long serving platter.

7. Garnish the salmon: place the olive slice over the eye, if liked, then completely cover the side of the fish with cucumber slices. Arrange remaining thin cucumber slices around the edge. Arrange the lettuce along one edge of the salmon, and spoon the fennel mayonnaise into the centre of each leaf. Sprinkle the mayonnaise with chopped fennel, then garnish the edge of the dish with fresh fennel sprigs.

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