“White wine is much used in French cookery, but especially in the cooking of fish. Cider is an excellent substitute for it in English kitchens; and indeed the white wine in which a French cook boils his fish is often so thin and acid that it any well cost less than a bottle of good cider and also be less wholesome. Pray remember that good cider is better than vile wine.”

-E S Dallas, Kettner’s Book of the Table, 1877


I got the idea for this method of cooking salmon from Jamie Oliver who served his (he cooked a whole salmon in a fish kettle) with:

  • rhubarb sauce – I make mine with apple balsamic vinegar instead of apples.
  • new potatoes (I think fried are also good)
  • and the new potatoes were anointed with a tarragon mayonnaise (go here for my cheats’ mayonnaise with gin and tarragon)


Recipe for cider-soaked salmon

Serves 2


  • 2 pieces of salmon
  • Small bottle of dry cider – I like Green Goblin
  • 1 cube vegetable or fish stock
  • Few sprigs of thyme
  • Four or five whole peppercorns – I use Indonesian long pepper
  • 1 stick celery, destrung and chopped
  • 1 banana shallot, peeled and chopped
  • Olive oil


  1. In a small frying pan, in a little olive oil, fry the shallot and the celery.
  2. When the shallot begins to turn translucent, add the salmon pieces, skin down and fry too for three or four minutes.
  3. Add the cider to just cover  the salmon.
  4. Add the stock powder or cube and bring to the boil.
  5. Add the thyme and the peppercorns.
  6. Simmer for about five minutes, then take off the heat, cover with foil and leave for up to five hours.
  7. When you’re ready to eat, reheat.
  8. Serve the fish and vegetables onto warmed plates with a slotted spoon (leaving behind the peppercorns and thyme). Reduce the remaining liquid and strain over the fish.