A fresh whole salmon, scaled and gutted. The one we usually buy is about 2kg/4.5lb
3-4 handfuls of fresh mixed herbs - I used parsley, basil and chives this time. Jamie also recommends fennel tops.
2 lemons, finely sliced into rounds
3-6 green onions sliced (depends on your tastes)
4 teaspoons of fennel seeds, cracked
EVOO (extra-virgin olive oil)
Salt & pepper to taste
Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Season the fish inside and out, rub a little EVOO (optional) and stuff half the herbs inside the cavity.
Now Jamie cooks this fish in newspaper, which when cooked on the BBQ gives the fish a smoky flavour. I'm not entirely sure I want to eat fish that has been cooked with the ink from the newspaper, so I use about 20 sheets of white butcher's paper that I get from the fishmonger when I buy the fish.
Place the salmon in the centre of the paper, scatter over the lemons, green onions, fennel seeds and remaining herbs - also put some underneath the salmon. Drizzle with a little extra EVOO (optional). Wet the paper with a little water.
Now you need to wrap the fish in the paper. Tuck each of the sides in and fold the paper over. There's no real method. You just want to wrap the whole fish quite tightly. Using kitchen string, wrap the string around the fish's head and tie in a knot. If you know how to do the whole cheffy knot-tying style, then do that, otherwise my husband just wraps the string around the fish and secures it.
To stop the paper catching fire, you need to wet it really well. Place the fish under a running tap and wet the paper & string thoroughly.
Cook the salmon in a pre-heated BBQ or oven at 220C/425F for about 35 minutes, depending on the size of your fish and how well-done you like your salmon. Our BBQ has a lid on it, so we can control the temperature. If you are cooking it on an open BBQ, Jamie recommends 25 minutes each side.
Note - Jamie uses a 1.5kg fish for these times. We use a 2kg fish and cook for an extra 5 minutes.
To serve, cut the paper open and watch all the steam escape. We then place the fish on a platter and serve portions at the table.
For a winter menu - serve with roasted vegetables and green beans and broccolini drizzled with a little EVOO, lemon juice and toasted flaked almonds.
For a summer menu - serve with boiled baby potatoes dressed with herbs and a little EVOO (serve hot or cold), and your favourite green salad. I often use a mango and avocado salad with this fish.
If you don't want to use paper, wrap the fish in double-thickness tin foil and a sheet of baking paper and roast. You can also use fish fillets instead of whole fish. Just reduce the cooking time.
This recipe comes from Jamie Oliver's book Happy Days with the Naked Chef. Next to this recipe he shares his thoughts on seafood, and hopefully without breaking copyright I wanted to share a couple of them with you:
'When you look at the way Spanish/Italians/Japanese live, and at their statistics of life expectancy, their consumption of fish seems to play a large part. I don't think any doctor has ever ruled out the fact that fish is really good for your diet ....do yourself a favour - eat fresh fish at least twice a week'.
You heard the man - Enjoy the fish!