1 fresh salmon – approximately 2.7kg/6lbs, descaled, gutted and cleaned
225 ml dry white wine
1 lemon (sliced)
3 sprigs fresh parsley
1 bunch fresh dill
2 bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
to garnish: fresh tarragon, parsley, or fresh chervil or fennel fern
A day before the meal, put the salmon into a fish kettle or a very large roasting tin.
If the salmon is still too large to fit in the fish kettle or roasting tin, cut off the tail end and cook it alongside the main body of the fish (when the salmon is cooked you can reposition the tail on the serving dish and camouflage the join with some herbs before serving).
Cover the salmon with water and add the white wine, lemon slices, parsley sprigs, the bunch of dill and the peppercorns.
Cover the fish kettle or roasting tin with a lid or foil.
Bring it to the boil, quickly reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes only.
Remove the pan from the heat immediately and set aside until the salmon is completely cold.
When it is cold, carefully lift the fish out of the water on to a wire rack and allow to drain.
Put the salmon onto a fish plate or a long wooden board.
Carefully remove the skin and, with the back of a small knife, scrape away the brown coating from the fish, wiping the knife clean after each scraping to prevent smears on the pink flesh.
Chill the salmon in the refrigerator (or in a cool larder, if it won't fit) until shortly before it is required.
Then you can use your artistic skills to decorate it with fresh tarragon, parsley and perhaps a lemon wedge in its mouth or a green olive to replace its eye!