4 salmon fillets (with the skin on, weighing about 200g each)
for the braised baby-gem:
4 heads baby gem
50g knob of butter
good splash olive oil
few sprigs thyme
2 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed)
salt and pepper
For the Salmon:
Put the olive oil, peppercorns, and tarragon in a smallish saucepan with 400ml water with salt and heat until the salt dissolves.
Carefully place the salmon fillets in the saucepan and don’t worry if they are all squashed together. There should be enough liquid to half-submerge them.
Gently bring to the boil and then reduce the heat so that it barely simmers for about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat and leave in the hot liquid for about 30 minutes, turning the salmon once or twice so that it cooks evenly. ;
You can then serve lukewarm or else cool entirely and then refrigerate in its poaching liquid and serve cold the next day. This works really well if served with a home-made mayonnaise and some watercress salad.
For the Braised Baby-Gem
Slice the baby gems in half lengthways. If some outer leaves fall off, so be it; don’t bother cooking them.
Heat the butter and olive oil until foaming and fry the baby gem, flat side down for about a minute or until just starting to colour in parts.
Add about 100 ml water, the thyme and garlic and then season very well.
Cook on a high heat for about another minute, baste the lettuces or turn them over gently and serve with a small bit of the garlicky, buttery cooking liquid.