Bar­be­cued salmon wrapped in vine leaves

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - The Cut / Food -

Serves 12

So sim­ple it barely con­sti­tutes a recipe. When cooked over glow­ing em­bers, the leafy sar­coph­a­gus serves a dual pur­pose, help­ing to hold the fish to­gether as you turn it on the grill and al­low­ing the flesh to steam gen­tly within. — 1 x 3-3.5kg salmon, scaled and gut­ted

— 2 un­waxed lemons, thinly sliced — a hand­ful of pars­ley stalks — ap­prox­i­mately 30-35 vine leaves, de­pend­ing on size (fig leaves work well too) Rinse the salmon and leave it to dry a lit­tle, then sea­son the cav­ity and stuff it with the le­mon slices and pars­ley stalks.

Wash and pat dry the leaves, and snip off the stalks. Soak some butcher’s twine in wa­ter.

Roll out a length of grease­proof pa­per a lit­tle longer than the salmon and lay on it an over­lap­ping leaf ‘car­pet’ for the fish, long enough to cover its body but leave its head and tail un­cov­ered.

Lay the fish on the leaves and place an over­lap­ping length of leaves on the side fac­ing up.

Fold these leaves underneath, around the fish, and se­cure with the soaked twine, en­sur­ing there are no gaps. This can be a fid­dly task and is best done with two sets of hands, ty­ing a butcher’s knot.

To cook the fish on the bar­be­cue, the trick is low and slow – over white-hot em­bers, not flames, tak­ing ap­prox­i­mately 45-50 min­utes and turn­ing once half­way through. Oil the grill bars to pre­vent the leaves from stick­ing and re­mem­ber that slightly un­der­cooked salmon is prefer­able to over­cooked.

The tip of a knife in­serted into the thick­est part of the fish should feel slightly warm to the touch and will al­low you to have a peek to see if the flesh looks opaque.

Once cooked, re­move the charred leaves and skin to re­veal beau­ti­fully pink, moist flesh, and ar­range the salmon on a bed of fresh leaves.

This is de­li­cious with the clas­sic French sauce verte (a gen­tly flavoured, herby green may­on­naise) and charred le­mon halves.

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