Summer and Salmon are an old American custom. The traditional
New England Fourth of July menu always includes Salmon, and the last fresh Peas
of the year, a much more healthful way to celebrate than greasy Hamburgers.
Happily, this fish can be very impressive though prepared in a simple fashion.
It can be completely done the day before any festive meal, leaving you to just
enjoy your company, and their sighs of appreciation.
There are only a couple of special things that must be done before making this,
the most important of which is clearing a shelf in the refrigerator to hold it.
The other is to buy a package of cheesecloth at the supermarket.
1 whole Salmon (About 4-5 pounds), tail removed
1 bunch Dill Weed
8 ounces Neufchatel Cheese
1/2 cup Light Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 Black Olive
1 whole Pimento
1 English Cucumber: halved, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 bunch Parsley, for Garnish
1 pint Grape Tomatoes, for Garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spray a Cookie Sheet with Vegetable Oil. Cut a piece of Cheesecloth double the
length of the Cookie Sheet, and lay it on the pan with half lying outside. Place
the Salmon on the Cheesecloth. It may be necessary to lay the Fish diagonally in
order to accomplish this. Put the Dill Weed inside the Salmon. Lay the other
half of the Cheesecloth over the Fish, and spray it with Vegetable Oil.
Put the Salmon in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and put it
directly into the refrigerator. If your refrigerator has glass shelves, lay a
couple of dish towels on the shelf to protect it from the heat. Allow the Salmon
to chill for at least four hours, until it is completely cold.
When the fish is cold, place the Neufchatel Cheese, Light Mayonnaise, Dijon
Mustard, Salt, and Lemon Juice in a bowl: then mix until smooth. Set aside until
Remove the Salmon from the Refrigerator, and using two spatulas, lift it onto
the platter. Peel back the Cheesecloth from one side. If you are fortunate, the
skin will stick to the Cheesecloth and just peel off. If not, it can be easily
removed. Reach inside the Salmon, and remove the cooked Dill Weed. Turn the
Salmon over gently, using the Cloth to help you, and remove the rest of the
skin. Don't fret if the Salmon breaks; just put it back together, for any
imperfections will be masked.
Spread the Cheese mixture evenly over the Salmon. Place the Olive where you
think the eye should be. Put a triangle-shaped piece of Pimento at the mouth,
and a curved piece at the gill. Immediately behind the gill, start laying
Cucumber slices in rows to resemble scales.
Garnish with the Parsley sprigs and Tomatoes. Cover loosely with Cellophane or
Plastic Wrap, and store in the Refrigerator until you are ready to serve.