Allyson Gofton - Celebrate with Salmon

Publish Date
Friday, 19 December 2014, 3:45PM
By Allyson Gofton

Purchasing and storing salmon:

  • Salmon like all fish, should be purchased fresh and cooked on the day of purchase.
  • Fresh salmon should have a sweet clean smell and no fishy odours.
  • Effective chilling is crucial for maintaining seafood at its best eating quality. The ideal temperature to keep fish is 0 degrees Celsius.  Our fridges are set at 4 degrees do where possible, keep fish on a layer of crushed ice and lower the thermostat to 1 degree or 0 degrees if possible.
  • One hour at room temperature (or 25 degrees C) is equivalent to one day on ice so always marinate fish in the refrigerator.
  • Fish is best bought fresh and eaten on the same day it is bought, however if fresh at purchase it will have a 2-3 days’ shelf life in a cold fridge.
  • If not cooked on the day of purchase, soak the salmon in well salted ice cold water for 10 minutes to re-freshen.  Dry well on absorbent paper before cooking.
  • For recipes salmon is considered a firm textured fish as it holds its shape when cooked.

Whole salmon
The fish has been gutted and scaled.

Look for salmon with bright eyes, red gills and no fishy odours. Wash and pat dry before cooking.

Allow one small salmon per person and look for even sized fish to ensure the cooking time is similar for each fish.

Salmon Steaks
These can be cut across the body to include the bone or from the fillet to make boneless steaks. Both are suitable for most cooking styles, though the bone-in steaks are best suited for grilling or barbecuing.

When purchasing allow 100-125 grams per person without bone, but 150-175 grams for bone-in.

Whole salmon fillet
These are carefully removed as a whole long fillet from each side of the fish and sold with the skin on. Check the pin bones (tiny bones running through the thickest part of the fillet) have been removed, as these tiny bones are a nuisance when eating. Tweezers are best to grab onto the tiny bones and pull them out.

When purchasing allow 100-125 grams per person.

Lemon-crusted salmon
Cooking a whole side of salmon might seem daunting, but this simple recipe, loaded with great flavours, is a fabulously easy way to cook salmon with confidence.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 10-12

1 whole side of salmon
1 lemon, thinly sliced
75 grams butter
4-5 garlic cloves, crushed, peeled and sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon
½-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
Tarragon-cream dressing, see recipe here (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (or 200ºC fan bake). Line a large baking tray with foil or baking paper and grease lightly with a little oil.

  2. Using tweezers, pull the pin bones out of the salmon. These bones run down the centre of the thickest section of the salmon. They need to good tug to be pulled out.

  3. Place the salmon skin-side down on the prepared tray. Fold the thin tail end underneath to make an even thickness through the length of salmon. This is to ensure even cooking.

  4. Place lemon slices down the centre of the fillet, overlapping the slices.

  5. Heat the butter and garlic in a small frying pan or saucepan and cook over a moderate heat for 4-5 minutes until very fragrant. Add the tarragon and black pepper and cook 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs.

  6. Scatter the butter and breadcrumb mixture over the salmon.

  7. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside for 2-3 minutes before serving hot or, alternatively, cover and serve warm with the tarragon-cream dressing.

Cooks Tips:
If salmon is not to your youngsters' liking, then try simply baking or pan-frying plain fish fillets. In my home I'm happy to serve up fish fingers with a pile of vegetables or salads to accompany as they are usually seen as a treat and go down as one, too!

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you