taste: cold poached salmon & pimm’s

Pimm’s is the taste of a British summer, and any pub will serve it by the jug once the weather heats up. Every end-of-term summer party at Cambridge was a shameless Pimm’s-fest, usually mixed strong and sweet with garden of fruit in it, strawberries, citrus, and herbs. The one non-negotiable, in my book, is cucumber, which brings out the grassiness of the drink. Since what Americans call lemonade (tart, still, strong) is quite different from its British cousin (sweet, sparkling, weak), and because the minimalist recipe on the back of the bottle calls for it, I made us Pimm’s with a weak ginger ale (homemade ginger syrup + sparkling water). With ice, cucumber, and lemon, it was vegetal and refreshing. It was a fine accompaniment to cold poached salmon, insanely easy and perfect for a day when you can’t bear to turn a burner on for longer than five minutes.

Bring a pan of water and white wine (about 3:1 – I used some white Lillet that had been kicking around the fridge too long) to the boil – just enough to almost cover your rinsed, dried, and seasoned salmon fillet. Turn off the heat, and put the fillet in the water for about five minutes a side, turning so that all of it gets submerged. Turn the heat on again to a simmer, and give the fish a final 30-second goose in the heat, then remove it to a platter. Let it cool and then refrigerate, pulling it out a little before serving so it isn’t too cold.

Meanwhile, beat up a cup of plain yoghurt or sour cream with the juice and zest of a lime, a couple heaped teaspoonfuls Dijon mustard, and a little less honey (all to taste)

Serve on a bed of corn and zucchini, tossed in oil and lime juice and  briefly sautéed just to soften . Toast summer, and cuddle up close to your a/c.

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