The Orvis Cookbook
Grilled Whole Atlantic Salmon McConnell
with Garlic Mayonnaise

Reprinted by permission of the publishers, Lyons & Burford, from
The Orvis Cookbook (£19.00). All rights reserved.


(*Webmaster's Note* There is siginificant evidence that Atlantic Salmon farming in the Atlantic Ocean may be causing irreversible genetic pollution resulting in the loss of native strains in the very near future. We recommend that the following menu be used for rod & reel caught Atlantic Salmon, or for Pacific Salmon only. Orvis no longer offers smoked Atlantic Salmon for sale online or in its catalogs.)

Grilled Whole Atlantic Salmon McConnell with Garlic Mayonnaise
Cucumber-Mint Salad
Boiled Tiny New Potatoes with Dill and Parsley
Watercress Mousse
Moet White Star Extra Dry Champagne
Apricot Whip
Green Pepper Cookies

Grilled Salmon McConnell
with Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise

As everyone knows, even a simple hamburger tastes infinitely better if it is grilled out of doors on a charcoal fire. This holds true as well for a fresh Atlantic salmon--truly the king of fish; the flavor is superb. There is a danger that grilling may dry him out excessively, so this recipe uses a homemade mayonnaise that is placed inside the two halves of the fish while grilling. It will keep the inside moist and succulent while the salmon cooks.

You will need a fresh whole Atlantic salmon of any size. (Allow 16 ounces per serving, precooked weight.)

Clean the salmon and leave the skin uncut along the top of the fish so that this skin will hold the fish together. Open the fish flat and spread half the mayonnaise (recipe follows) on the inside of one of the halves. Close the fish and place it on buttered foil large enough to completely envelop it. If you have a hinged wire fish grill, place the wrapped fish in it. It will be much easier to turn. If not, place the wrapped fish on a grid over red coals spread so that none are directly below the fish. Cook a 12-pound salmon approximately 20 minutes on each side, turning it just once, very carefully, with two spatulas if you haven't put it in a fish grill.

The internal temperature of the fish when done should be 140' to 150' (insert the Orvis Thermicator right through the foil. If you don't own an Orvis Thermicator, which tells you instantly the internal temperature of anything you are cooking, try Al McClane's method, from North American Fish Cookery, of determining doneness in fish.

Insert the fork into the thickest part of the backbone; the easiest way to do this is to score the fish before cooking with several diagonal cuts spaced about three inches apart (do not score the thin tail section), cutting to, but not through, the backbone. Scoring not only assures more uniform heat penetration but allows an instant reference point for determining protein status . A fish is ready for eating at the instant protein coagulates turn from translucent to opaque.

Make your diagonal cuts on one side of the fish only. Then you can present it looking intact by flipping the scored side down on the platter.

Remove the fish from the fire, open the foil, and loosen the edges of the skin with the tip of a paring knife. Peel the skin off and discard it. Place the fish on a board or platter and serve it with the reserved half of the mayonnaise alongside.

Place a slice of pimento-stuffed olive over the eye and don't forget to eat the cheeks, just below and behind the eye. In a salmon they can be sizable morsels, and they are always the most delectable part of the fish.

Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise

  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon prepared Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • Pinch regular salt
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or plain cider vinegar
  • 1 cup light olive oil (or 3/4 Cup corn or safflower oil plus ¼ cup olive oil)

Place all ingredients except the oil in a blender, start the machine and pour the oil in very slowly. Reserve half in a sauce boat and spread the other half inside the split fish.

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Cucumber - Mint Salad
serves 8

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 3 to 4 medium cucumbers
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • Freshly ground pepper

Make the salad dressing at least 2 hours before you plan to use it.

Combine the lemon juice, heavy cream, and sour cream, and let stand 2 hours in refrigerator.

Peel the cucumbers and halve them lengthwise. Remove seeds with a melon baller or scrape a small spoon down the length of the halved cucumber. Slice thinly into a colander. Sprinkle with salt and let stand at least 30 minutes to drain excess liquid. Pat with paper towels to dry and remove excess salt. Combine with cream-lemon mixture and sprinkle with parsley and mint. Grind some pepper over all and chill well.

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Boiled Tiny New Potatoes
serves 8
  • Allow at least 4 tiny potatoes per person
  • Butter
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 bunch fresh dill

If you can't get new potatoes, then buy regular sized ones and cut them into quarters or sixths and round off the edges with a potato peeler to a rough oval shape after you have peeled them. If you do have new potatoes, brush well when washing and leave the skins on. Boil until tender, drain, butter generously, add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with chopped fresh dill and fresh minced parsley.

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Watercress Mousse
serves 8

• 3 bunches watercress (2 cups after
pureeing with gelatin and chicken stock)
• 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
• ½ cup mayonnaise
• 1 packet unflavored gelatin
• ½ Cup hot chicken stock
(Canned broth is all right.)
• Dash Tabasco sauce
• ½ cup heavy cream

Wash and dry the watercress. Beat the cream cheese until smooth, then mix in the mayonnaise. Dissolve gelatin in chicken stock and cool. Place gelatin mixture and watercress in a blender or food processor and puree. Add Tabasco and mix well, then fold into cheese mixture.

Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into cheese mixture. Pour into individual custard cups or ramekins and chill until set, about 4 to 6 hours. When ready to serve, dip the base of the molds into hot water for a few seconds. Turn them out onto serving plates and garnish with a few sprigs of watercress and a halved cherry tomato or a radish rose.

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Apricot Whip
serves 8

• 1½ cups dried apricots, cooked
• 3 tablespoons apricot juice
• 3 tablespoons orange juice
• 3 large egg whites at room temperature
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup sugar
•½ pint whipping cream (optional)
•3 tablespoons confectioner's sugar (optional

Preheat oven to 325'. Place the dried apricots with 2 cups water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat, covered, for 25 minutes. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the liquid.

Add the orange juice and puree the fruit with the two juices in a food processor or blender, or put through a food mill. Transfer fruit to a mixing bowl.

Beat the egg whites with salt until white and foamy. Add sugar one tablespoon at a time and beat until glossy and stiff.

Fold egg whites into fruit mixture. Spoon into eight 5-ounce custard or souffle cups, filling them 2/3s full.

Place the cups in a baking pan or dish half filled with boiling water. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes. Allow water in pan to cool before removing custard cups. Serve warm or cool, with whipped cream if desired.

This is an old-fashioned dessert that isn't used enough now. It can be made with an equal amount of any dried fruit: apples, pears, peaches, prunes, or a combination of dried fruits. It's light, refreshing, easily digested and doesn't require much skill or time to prepare. If you use a sugar substitute and omit the whipped cream it can also be low in calories while still retaining its delicious flavor.

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Green Pepper Cookies
Makes 5 Dozen

• 5 cups sifted flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1¼ teaspoons cinnamon
• 1¼ teaspoons ginger
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• ¼ teaspoon ground, dry, green peppercorns

• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
•1 cup dark corn syrup
•1 cup sugar
•1 tablespoon cider vinegar
•2 eggs, beaten

This recipe requires dry, green peppercorns, not the ones that are canned in vinegar or oil. They can be hard to find, but most specialty and gourmet food stores carry them. The dough must be refrigerated for 3 hours before baking.

Sift together the first 6 ingredients. Combine the butter, syrup, and vinegar in a saucepan and heat until butter melts. Cool and stir into dry ingredients and beaten eggs, mixing well. Cover with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 350'.

Divide the dough into 4 portions and remove only 1 at a time from the refrigerator. Roll to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut into desired shapes. (A fish would be very fitting for this meal.) Place 3/4 inch apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack or waxed paper to cool.

After cooling, store in a covered tin container to retain the great crispness. They go with simple diced fresh fruit or with ice cream as well as with apricot whip.

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Serve your favourite champagne with this meal. The king of fish, the Atlantic salmon, deserves this accompaniment. So do you--especially if you caught him.

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