Salad with extra flavour twinned with this preparation of braised baby gem makes for a terrific combination.


  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 1 tblsp pink peppercorns
  • small bunch of tarragon
  • 4 salmon fillets (with the skin on, weighing about 200g each)
  • for the braised baby-gem:
  • 4 heads baby gem
  • 50 g 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.
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