This classic buffet dish is not only beautiful but also delicious hot or cold. Cutting the fish before cooking gives clean edges. To serve, garnish with more slices of lemon and fresh sprigs of parsley and thyme.
1/4 cup (50 mL) white vermouth
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp/5 mL dried)
2 sides salmon (about 2 lb/1 kg each)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 lemon, thinly sliced
12 sprigs fresh thyme or parsley
1/2 cup (125 mL) light mayonnaise
1/2 cup (125 mL) packed fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh chives
2 tbsp (25 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
In small saucepan, heat vermouth with chopped fresh thyme over medium heat; let cool for 10 minutes. Strain through sieve.
Cut four 40-inch (1 m) long pieces of foil; place double thickness on each of 2 rimless baking sheets. Grease foil. Cutting just to skin, cut each piece of salmon into 6 portions; place, skin side down, on each pan. Sprinkle with salt ; divide lemon and thyme sprigs over each. Drizzle with vermouth mixture. Enclose in foil and seal to form packet.
Roast in top and bottom thirds of 400°F (200°C) oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until fish flakes easily when tested, about 25 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs; scrape off white protein. (Make-ahead: Let cool for about 30 minutes; discard lemon and refrigerate until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.) Serve warm or cool.
In food processor or blender, purée together mayonnaise, basil, chives, oil, lemon juice and salt until smooth. (Make-ahead: Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 24 hours.) Serve with salmon.