Salmon Chaud Froid

Long, long ago, in a place far, far away, I saw a recipe for Salmon Chaud Froid.

It was most likely in Bon Appétit magazine, as that was the first cooking magazine I subscribed to.

It was a whole salmon, covered in a glossy mayonnaise jelly with paper thin slices of cucumber used to recreate the scales. I don’t remember much more about it, but it made an impression.

It also served 20.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to try, but, since mon mari is not excessively fond of either fish or cold food, I haven’t.

Until now.

I decided the heat wave was the perfect time to make a cold dinner.

And I promised mon mari all the Bayonne Ham and Melon he could eat for the first course.

Chaud Froid (hot cold) was traditionally used to describe food that was cooked and served cold. Now it usually refers to a cooked food that is covered in aspic or gelatin or other jellied sauce… and served cold.

Saumon Chaud Froid

Total time: 15 minutes


  • 2 salmon fillets, 12oz (360gr) total weight
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • Mayonnaise:
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs pesto rosso
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin dissolved in 1 tbs cold water
  • purple basil leaves
  • green basil leaves, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced very thinly

Salmon Chaud Froid


  • The salmon:
  • Put chicken stock, tarragon, salmon and peppercorns in a skillet.
  • Cover, heat to simmering and poach gently until salmon is done, 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Remove salmon, remove skin and chill thoroughly, at least an hour
  • When ready, remove salmon and place fillets on a wire rack.
  • The Sauce:
  • Combine mayonnaise, yogurt and pesto rosso.
  • Dissolve gelatin in water and stir into mayonnaise mixture.
  • Quickly spoon mixture over salmon, letting it run down the sides.
  • Arrange purple basil leaves on top
  • Chill until serving.
  • To serve:
  • Arrange tomato slices and shredded basil on 2 plates.
  • Place salmon on top and serve.

Print Recipe

I was very happy with my first effort at Saumon Chaud Froid.

But it wasn’t perfect.

I’ve never worked with powdered gelatin before and would increase it to 1 1/2 tsp the next time. It set fairly well but I would have liked it a bit firmer. Also, I think I should have been quicker to stir it into the mayo…. I dawdled.

We both loved the flavors.

Traditionally, it would have been flavored with tarragon and garnished with tarragon, rather than basil, but my basil is doing so beautifully well I couldn’t resist.

Besides, I had pesto rosso in the fridge and we dearly love pesto rosso.

All in all – very easy and a perfect make-ahead dish.

We’ve been having storms lately.

They always come from the same direction, across the valley.

If rain is coming, we can watch it on the village across from us about 5 minutes before the first drop falls here.

This was the storm bank moving towards us the other night.

cloudsI have to admit I put this in photo shop and tried to improve it.

I couldn’t.

I also couldn’t get the photo to reflect that incredible light and beauty of the moment.

Use your imagination…..
If you want nutrition information, try this site: Calorie Count

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