Whole baked salmon with watercress sauce
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Serves:     people
Notes from Anna
  • Quick and easy to assemble, this makes a great centrepiece for a special meal - perfect for Christmas for example. The salmon takes just 15 minutes hands-on preparation time and then it looks after itself in the oven. You can prepare the mousse and watercress sauce in advance and chill.
  • This salmon is just as delicious served warm or at room temperature.
  • To calculate the cooking time for different sized fish, measure the girth of the salmon at the widest point and allow 4 minutes for every 2.5cm.


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  1. PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 220˚C/200˚C FAN/GAS 7
  2. FOIL Line a baking sheet with a sheet of greased foil, big enough to wrap around the fish.
  3. SLASH Rinse the salmon under running water. Remove any loose scales by running the blade of a knife from the tail end to the head. Make 3 diagonal slashes on each side of the fish, deep enough to reach the bone. Place the fish on the foil.
  4. Zest two lemons, then slice them. Crush the fennel seeds. Mix the lemon zest with the crushed fennel seeds and butter and season with a little salt and a grinding of black pepper.
  5. Spread the butter mixture over the fish and inside the cavity. Arrange the lemon slices around the fish. Place the bay leaf on top of the salmon with the fennel sprigs.
  6. Loosely wrap the fish in the foil and bake for one hour or until the skin pulls away easily and the flesh is opaque.
  7. MOUSSE Meanwhile, prepare the salmon mousse for the decoration. Blitz the smoked salmon and ricotta in a food processor or blender. Season with a generous grind of black pepper.
  8. Whip the cream in another bowl. Carefully fold it into the smoked salmon mixture with a metal spoon.
  9. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until needed.
  10. Next make the watercress sauce. Wash the watercress, remove the hard stalks and roughly chop. Squeeze the third lemon. Blitz the crème fraîche and watercress together. Season with salt and black pepper and add the lemon juice to taste.
  11. Take the fish out of the oven. Carefully scrape off the skin and place the fish on a serving dish.
  12. Put the salmon mousse into a piping bag and decorate the top of the salmon. Place some salmon caviar on top of the salmon mousse and serve with the watercress sauce.Lemons and watercress provide valuable vitamin C.

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