Foil-poached salmon with dill & avocado mayo

A whole poached salmon makes a buffet centrepiece with wow-factor – we’ve got ideas for using up the leftovers too

  • Prep:20 mins
    Cook:2 hrs
    Plus cooling
  • Serves 10
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 612
  • fat 47g
  • saturates 8g
  • carbs 2g
  • sugars 1g
  • fibre 2g
  • protein 45g
  • salt 0.49g


  • 3½ kg whole salmon (ask your fishmonger to clean and gut it)
  • olive oil, for greasing
  • 1 small onion, very thinly sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 20g pack dill
  • 6 tbsp dry white wine
  • 3 ripe avocados, preferably Hass
  • 200ml mayonnaise
  • zest and juice 1 large lemon
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • bunch watercress, lemon wedges, thick cucumber slices, fresh dill (optional)


Cooking fish on the bone adds to its flavour, especially if you tuck in some herbs and thinly sliced onions. The onion is in the centre of the salmon purely to flavour the flesh, so don’t be tempted to serve it, as it will barely be cooked.


  1. Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Put the salmon on a large sheet of oiled extra-wide foil (this will stop it from sticking later). Put the onion, bay leaves and half the dill in the body cavity, spoon over the wine, season with salt and black pepper, then loosely bring the foil round the salmon and seal well to make a parcel. Lift onto a baking tray, then bake for 2 hrs. Take from the oven, then leave to cool for about 10 mins, still in its parcel.

  2. Meanwhile, whizz the flesh from the avocados (with a hand blender or in a food processor) with the mayo, lemon juice, zest and seasoning. Tip into a bowl. Chop the remaining dill, stir in with the cucumber, then transfer to a serving bowl. Chill for up to 3 hrs.

  3. Unwrap the salmon, then strip away the skin and fins. Personally, I don’t take the skin from the bottom of the fish if I am serving the salmon warm, as you risk breaking the fish up as you turn it over. It is more robust when it is cold, so in this case remove the skin from both sides. You can leave the head on or take off at this stage. Carefully lift onto a platter, then garnish with watercress, cucumber, lemon wedges and dill, if using.

  4. To serve, remove the fish in chunky fillets. When all the fish has gone from the top fillet, remove the onion and herb flavouring, pull away the bones, then remove portions of the bottom fillet, leaving the skin behind. Eat with the avocado mayo, warm buttery new potatoes, and salads or green beans.

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