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How to cook a whole salmon
by Chef and restaurant owner Aiden Byrne

Do your Chritsmas cooking like the pros this year with help from one of the video masterclasses with insider tips produced for the Tesco FoodClub. The videos show you all the essential techniques and savvy seasonal shortcuts you need.

With this method of cooking a whole salmon, you don’t need a fish kettle – you simply bake the fish in a parcel in the oven. Here’s how to create this classic buffet centrepiece.

Aiden Byrne

Aiden ByrneOne of the Britain's most talented chefs, Aiden Byrne's career has matured in the company of high-profile chefs including Tom Aikens, Paul Rankin and David Adlard.

He won his first Michelin star in Norwich at Adlards Restaurant, at just 22 years of age. Within 18 months of taking over the kitchens at The Grill at The Dorchester, Aiden injected a passion and flair for using Britain's finest, seasonal ingredients with his distinctive cooking style. He is currently cooking at his gastro-pub The Church Green, in Cheshire and is working on various other new restaurant and retail ventures there.

Liverpool-born Aiden is passionate about British ingredients, and has written a cookbook - Aiden Byrne: Made in Great Britain published by New Holland in September 2008. He has also made several TV appearances, including BBC's Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef and Food Poker, and UKTV's Market Kitchen. Aiden competed to represent the North West in the BBC's Great British Menu, and appeared on BBC1's The Money Programme in The Rise of the Superchef.

For written instructions please scroll down the page


With this method of cooking a whole salmon, you don’t need a fish kettle – you simply bake the fish in a parcel in the oven. Here’s how to create this classic buffet centrepiece.


2.5kg salmon, gutted
1 lemon, thickly sliced
4 bay leaves
1 fennel head, thickly sliced
Handful whole black peppercorns
Handful flat-leaf parsley
1 glass dry white wine

1 cucumber, finely sliced
1 bag watercress
1 head fennel, finely sliced
Few sprigs dill, finely sliced
½ tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Squeeze lemon juice


How to cook salmon Step 1   How to cook salmon Step 2
Step 1
Ask your fishmonger to gut the whole salmon to save you a messy job. Wash the fish and pat dry with kitchen paper, then cut off the fins so they donít burn in the oven. If the salmon is too long for the roasting tray, cleanly cut off the head and tail with a sharp knife.
Step 2
Fill the cavity of the fish with the sliced lemon and fennel and bay leaves. Scrunch up a piece of tin foil and push into the cavity. This will help the fish stand upright in the roasting tray and on the serving plate.
How to cook salmon Step 3   How to cook salmon Step 4
Step 3
Lay out two long sheets of tin foil and spread the top one with butter. Scatter with the rest of the lemon slices, black peppercorns and parsley. Put the fish on top then gather up the sides of the foil. Pour in the wine then fold the edges of the foil together to seal tightly. Lay the parcel onto a roasting tray, curving the fish a little to fit in it. Put into a pre-heated oven at 220°C / 200°C fan / Gas 7 and cook for 30 - 40 minutes.
Step 4
When the fish is cooked through, lift it out of the foil onto a chopping board. While itís still warm, carefully remove the skin on one side with a blunt knife, working from the top of the head to the tail. Repeat on the other side until all skin is removed.
How to cook salmon Step 5  

Serves: 8 - 10

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 30-40 mins

A simple test to see if fish is cooked through is to carefully insert a knife into the middle of the fish. Hold the knife against your hand and if it feels hot, itís ready.

Step 5
Make the salad by mixing together the cucumber, watercress, fennel and dill. Dress with white wine vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice then season to taste. Lay out on a large plate then position the fish on top. Serve warm or cold.

Reproduced with permission of Tesco.com

Published 12 November 2009