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      RECIPE TITLE "Salmon With Mousseline Sauce"
    recipe excerpted from: Jacques Pepin Celebrates  Copyright © 2001 by Jacques Pépin

    ... more great recipes from Jacques Pepin on our GREAT CHEFS page!

    yieldsyield: 12 to 14 servings time---difficultymoderate to difficult

    Salmon is one of the most prized of all fish, and this recipe for a whole salmon makes a rich and impressive main course for a special dinner or a stunning buffet centerpiece. The flesh is most delectable when served warm right out of the poaching broth. Wild salmon, not readily available and quite pricey, is the best, but raised salmon, an Atlantic species, is excellent and available year-round.

    The leeks can be cooked ahead and reheated in hot water at serving time. Salmon caviar or roe, used here as a garnish, is usually available freshly processed, which is better than what you find pasteurized in jars. The salty, slightly acidic taste of salmon eggs contrasts nicely with the richness of the mousseline sauce.
    The mousseline base is a hollandaise sauce, and then whipped cream is spooned on top. The two should not be combined until the last minute, or the sauce will liquefy. The salmon can also be served with herb butter or lemon butter.

      RECIPE INGREDIENTS

    stock for salmon
    3 quarts water
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 medium carrots (about 6 ounces), peeled and cut
    into 12-inch dice (1 12 cups)
    1 12 cups sliced celery, preferably the green leafy part
    2 cups sliced green of leek (from the remains of the
    leeks in the leeks-and-salmon-caviar recipe, below)
    4 bay leaves
    3 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
    2 teaspoons black peppercorns
    2 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
    1 very fresh salmon (about 6 pounds), gutted, with
    the head on (about 24 inches long and 2 12 inches thick at the thickest point)
    leeks and salmon caviar
    14 to 16 leeks of medium to large size, trimmed
    (see illustrations, page 107)
    12 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons peanut oil
    1 12 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    4 ounces salmon-roe caviar (about 1 slightly
    heaping teaspoon per person)
    mousseline sauce
    8 egg yolks from large eggs
    1 pound unsalted butter
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    1 cup heavy cream
    garnish
    About 12 lettuce leaves and 1 bunch
    parsley, for decoration

      RECIPE METHOD

    Stock for salmon: Put all the stock ingredients in a large kettle. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Set the pan aside, off the heat and uncovered, to cool for at least 1 hour.
    Pour the cooled stock (including solids) from the kettle into the bottom of a fish poacher, and arrange the salmon in its wire rack on top. Fill the fish poacher with additional cold water, so the fish is completely submerged. Drape a kitchen towel over the fish to keep it submerged during cooking, and bring the stock to just below the boil, 180 to 190 degrees. (If the stock boils, the fish could twist and break.) Poach a 6-pound salmon at that temperature for 16 to 18 minutes, adding 5 extra minutes for each additional pound. Set the poacher aside, off the heat, and keep the salmon in the hot stock for at least 30 minutes before serving. (If serving the salmon cold, let it remain in the stock until completely cool.)

    Prepare the leeks: Split the trimmed leeks lengthwise into fourths, as illustrated (page 107), stopping just before you reach the root end of each so they remain attached at that end. Wash under cold water, and tie the leeks into two bundles, seven to eight per bundle. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil, add the salt, and drop the leeks into the water. Cover, bring the water back to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium, and boil gently, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks are tender when pierced with the point of a knife. Drain (reserving the cooking liquid for stock, soup, or sauces, if desired), and squeeze out excess moisture by pressing on the leeks with a spoon. Untie the leeks, then spread them out on a plate, cool them to lukewarm, and split each one lengthwise into pieces. In a small bowl, mix the oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and coat the leeks with the dressing.

    For the mousseline sauce: Meanwhile, using the egg yolks, butter, and lemon juice, make a hollandaise sauce (see page 40), and set it aside. In a bowl, whip the cream until firm, then cover and refrigerate.

    At serving time, lift the salmon out of the hot broth, and slide it onto a serving platter. (If you wish, strain and freeze the broth for use in soups or sauces.) Peel off and discard the skin on top of the salmon. Then, using a knife, remove the back fins, which will come off easily from the cooked fish. Scrape off and discard the dark flesh, which is mostly fat, from the top center of the fillet.

    Arrange lettuce and parsley around the salmon. Decorate the salmon with parsley, working quickly so the salmon will still be lukewarm when served.

    At serving time, arrange the equivalent of one leek on each plate, forming the long strips into a round, hollow “nest” for the salmon. To carve the salmon, run a thin, sharp-bladed knife down the middle line
    of the fish, cutting down to the central bone and separating the top fillet into halves. Then cut the long strips of flesh crosswise into chunks 3 to 4 inches long and, using a fork or spoon to help lift out the cut portions, arrange them in the leek “nests.”

    When the top fillet has been served, lift off the central bone gently, and discard it. Scrape off any skin or fatty tissue from the bottom fillet, then cut it into portions and continue arranging on plates. Sprinkle the salmon roe around the leeks. Transfer the warm hollandaise to a sauceboat, and spoon the whipped cream on top. Mix the cream lightly with the hollandaise as you spoon it out onto the salmon pieces. Serve immediately.
    Copyright 2001 by Jacques Pepin


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