Whole Baked Norwegian Salmon in Salt Crust with Nordic Remoulade
1 x 3-4 kg whole salmon, gutted, gills removed, scales left on
2 fennel bulbs and fronds
½ a bunch of fresh-flat leaf parsley
½ a bunch of fresh chives
5 kg coarse sea salt salt like Sjøstein
2 large free-range eggs
1 bunch dill
6 cornichons, minced
1 small red onion minced
3 tablespoons capers in brine, drained
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 medium sized parsley or celery root, minced
3 dl prepared mayonnaise
3 dl sour cream
Stir all ingredients for remoulade together in a non reactive bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven or gas grill to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Wash the salmon well, both inside and out, then pat dry with kitchen paper (leaving the scales on helps to keep in the moisture as it cooks). Finely slice 1 lemon and the fennel into rounds and stuff into the salmon cavity with the parsley, and chives.
Combine the rock salt, eggs and 250ml of water in a large bowl, then evenly spread one-third of the salt over a large baking tray (roughly 35cm x 45cm), making a slight hollow in the middle to hold the salmon snugly. Lay the salmon diagonally into the tray, then spoon over the remaining salt mixture, heaping it around and onto the salmon so that it’s evenly covered – you should have a layer of salt, roughly 2cm thick, all over the salmon. Place the tray in the hot oven for around 40 minutes, or until cooked through. To test if the salmon is ready, push a skewer through the salt into the thickest part of the fish – if it comes out warm after 5 seconds, it’s done.
Once cooked, remove the salmon from the oven and allow to cool for around 20 minutes, then with the tip of a knife, carefully slice into the salt, cutting all the way along the salmon spine, being careful not to slice into the fish at this point. Gently lift the salt casing off the salmon, then spoon away and discard the remaining salt, brushing away any excess from the top of the salmon.
Transfer the fish to a large platter, then score the skin along the spine, across the tail and under the gill and peel back the skin. Divide up the salmon and serve with the lemon wedges for squeezing over and remoulade.