See also Salmon salad in the Salads section





Photo: Jonathan Slack




"So into London by water; and in Fish-Streete my wife and I bought a bit of salmon of 8d. and went to the Sun tavern and eat it, where I did promise to give her all that I have in the world but my books, in case I should die at sea."

(Samuel Pepys' diary, 15 March 1660 - he was about to sail to Holland to bring back Charles II for the latter's restoration to the throne).




This based on what used to be a signature dish (in the days when salmon was not farmed and was an expensive luxury) of the restaurant of the Frères Troisgros at Roanne – one of France’s great restaurants.

800-900 filleted salmon, skinned and cut into 6 pieces

200ml white wine

200ml dry vermouth

200ml fish stock

2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped,

150 ml double cream or crème fraîche

100 gr (3 handfuls) sorrel, stalks removed and the leaves chopped

3 tablespoons butter (chilled), salt, pepper

Put the wine, vermouth, fish stock and shallots into a saucepan and reduce to a few spoonfuls of syrupy liquid. Add the cream and reduce again slightly. Add the chopped sorrel, salt and pepper and cook for another few minutes until the sorrel has collapsed and lost its colour. Reserve while you gently fry the salmon (seasoned with salt and pepper) in one tablespoon of the butter until just cooked. Reheat the sauce, stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces), and pour over the salmon. 




These are rather crumbly fishcakes. An egg or egg white can be added to bind them.

150-200gr salmon flesh, lightly cooked

250gr floury potatoes, peeled and cooked

1 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp crushed fennel seeds

1 tsp cracked green peppercorns

½ a lemon

4 tbsp chopped parsley

flour, salt, olive or other cooking oil

Mash together the potato, melted butter, salt, fennel seeds, green peppercorns, parsley and the juice and zest of the half lemon. Flake the salmon and mix it in gently. Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm it up. Using well-floured hands, form the mixture into about six flattish fishcakes. Fry them gently in the oil on both sides for 2-3 minutes, until golden.  




300-400gr salmon fillet, skinned and cut into two portions

1 leek

1 carrot, peeled

200-250 ml fish stock

½ glass white wine

2 tbsp dry vermouth (eg Noilly Prat)

1 dessertsp balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp butter, chilled

extra butter, light cooking oil, salt, pepper

Put the fish stock, wine and vermouth into a small saucepan and reduce by about half. Cut the white part of the leek into julienne (match-stick size) strips and grate the carrot on the coarse grater. Soften them gently in a frying-pan with some butter and a tiny bit of oil (to stop the butter burning). Add the reduced stock, salt and pepper and cook a few minutes more. It should make a fairly liquid sauce; if necessary add a little water or extra fish stock.  (It can be done in advance up to this point.) Gently fry or microwave the salmon so that it is just cooked. Bring the sauce back to bubbling point, add the balsamic vinegar and stir in the chilled butter, cut into pieces, until it is melted and amalgamated. Pour over the salmon and serve with new potatoes to sop up the juice. (If you use enough leek and carrot, there is no need for any extra vegetables.)



A good dinner party dish as it can be prepared in advance up until the stage where you add the fish.

600-800gr salmon fillet, skinned and cut into bite-sized chunks

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped

5 cm knob of ginger root, peeled and chopped or grated

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

1 teaspoon cumin powder

400-500ml coconut milk (or 50-100gr creamed coconut with some water)

½ teaspoon white sugar

bunch of green coriander, largest stalks removed

about half as much parsley, stalks removed

light cooking oil (e.g. sunflower), salt

Soften the onion in some oil, without letting it colour. Add the chilli, garlic, ginger and cumin and cook for another minute or so. Add the coconut milk, sugar and salt and simmer for 15 minutes. Let it cool a little. Then put in a blender with the coriander and parsley and blend until smooth. Reheat to simmering in a saucepan and add the salmon chunks. Turn off the heat and leave them to cook for 5-10 minutes in the residual heat (they are cooked when they will flake when prodded). Serve with rice.



1 aubergine

1 red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely diced

200-300gr salmon

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

juice and zest of half a lime

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 small clove garlic, peeled

light cooking oil, salt, pepper, chopped fresh mint or coriander leaves

Poach the salmon until just cooked (put it in a pan of cold salted water; heat it very slowly to the stage when a scum is beginning to form on the surface of the water; turn off the heat and leave it in the hot water for at least half an hour). Cut the aubergines into four lengthwise and arrange on a baking-sheet cut sides uppermost. Anoint with oil and bake in an oven pre-heated to 220C/ gas for 15-20 minutes or until the flesh of the aubergine is soft. Leave to cool a little and peel off the skin. Cut the flesh into bite-sized chunks. Cook the chilli and lime zest for couple of minutes in some oil. Turn off the heat and add one tablespoon of Thai fish sauce, the lime juice, sugar and garlic squeezed through a garlic squeezer. Flake the salmon and combine with the aubergine pieces. Add salt and pepper to taste (not too much salt, as the fish sauce is salty). Sprinkle chopped mint or coriander over the top. Serve lukewarm or cold with good bread or some rice.







This sauce, which comes from France, is also good with other grilled fish, including mackerel.

2 trout

1 tablespoon butter

2-3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 dessertspoon French mustard

2-3 tablespoons chopped mixed herbs – e.g. parsley, chervil, chives, tarragon, sorrel

4 tablespoons cream

salt and pepper, lemon juice (optional)

Melt the shallots in the butter without colouring. Add all the other sauce ingredients except the mustard and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mustard and serve beside the grilled trout.




This is a classic French recipe. The version below differs from the usual in that the trout are grilled rather than fried, and then skinned for a luxury touch. The skin has to be removed just before serving, which is a tiny bit fiddly, so it is best as a dish for no more than two people.

2 trout, cleaned and beheaded

3-4 tablespoons flaked almonds

2-3 tablespoons butter

juice of one lemon

chopped parsley, salt, pepper

Toast the almonds so that they are lightly browned (this is best done in an empty saucepan or frying-pan, shaking frequently so that they do not burn) and put them on a plate to one side. Grill the trout on both sides on a rack without any oil or butter – they are done when the skin starts blistering brown and black. While they are grilling, melt the butter in a frying-pan and cook until it is just beginning to go brown – what the French call noisette or hazelnut coloured. Add the almonds, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and keep warm. Now remove the skin from the grilled trout – it should be quite thick and hard and will come away easily. Arrange the skinned trout on pre-heated plates and pour the butter-almond-lemon mixture over the top. Serve with new potatoes and a sprinkling of parsley.





Photo: Jonathan Slack



This Flemish and Northern French dish, anguille au vert, is supposed to be made with at least seven types of green ingredients. It is normally thickened with egg yolk; here cornflour is used for a slightly lighter (although admittedly less luxurious) dish

1 400-500gr eel cut into 3 cm pieces

2 tablespoons butter or oil

large handful sorrel, cut into shreds

2 handfuls spinach, cut into shreds

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 handful parsley leaves, chopped

1 handful watercress leaves

4-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped

1 large sprig tarragon, chopped

250-300ml dry white wine

4 tbsp cream

cornflour, lemon juice, salt, pepper

Fry the eel briefly in the butter or oil, until it stiffens. Add the sorrel and spinach and cook stirring until they melt. Add the celery, herbs and other greenery, and the wine and simmer covered for 15-20 minutes. Put 1 tsp cornflour in a small basin and gradually stir in a tablespoon or two of cold water and then the cream. Stir this mixture into the eel and add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Cook stirring for another minute or so until it slightly thickens. Serve with fried bread and/or boiled potatoes.


"All day at home looking upon my workmen, only at noon Mr. Moore came and brought me some things to sign for the Privy Seal and dined with me. We had three eels that my wife and I bought this morning of a man, that cried them about, for our dinner, and that was all I did to-day."

From Samuel Pepys' Diary, 15 December 1660.





Fish (fly-replete, in depth of June,
Dawdling away their wat'ry noon)
Ponder deep wisdom, dark or clear,
Each secret fishy hope or fear.
Fish say, they have their Stream and Pond;
But is there anything Beyond?
This life cannot be All, they swear,
For how unpleasant, if it were!
One may not doubt that, somehow, Good
Shall come of Water and of Mud;
And, sure, the reverent eye must see
A Purpose in Liquidity.
We darkly know, by Faith we cry,
The future is not Wholly Dry.
Mud unto mud! -- Death eddies near --
Not here the appointed End, not here!
But somewhere, beyond Space and Time.
Is wetter water, slimier slime!
And there (they trust) there swimmeth One
Who swam ere rivers were begun,
Immense, of fishy form and mind,
Squamous, omnipotent, and kind;
And under that Almighty Fin,
The littlest fish may enter in.
Oh! never fly conceals a hook,
Fish say, in the Eternal Brook,
But more than mundane weeds are there,
And mud, celestially fair;
Fat caterpillars drift around,
And Paradisal grubs are found;
Unfading moths, immortal flies,
And the worm that never dies.
And in that Heaven of all their wish,
There shall be no more land, say fish.


Rupert Brook