February 08, 1988 12:00 PM

by James McNair

“As soon as the fish is out of the water,” writes McNair, “kill it with a sharp blow to the head, then make a small deep cut behind the anal opening and drain off as much blood as you can.” Now, if you’re still in the mood for salmon, the author of 13 previous cookbooks offers more than 25 ways to steam, simmer, poach, bake, broil, barbecue, roast, smoke and cure this pastel poisson whose insistence on swimming upstream remains an inspiration to us all. McNair suggests a salmon corn chowder; salmon, scallops and scallions sheathed in corn husks; salmon grilled and stuffed with fennel. He is equally innovative when it comes to leftovers, which he tosses with lemon juice, shallots, eggs and bread crumbs to create sautéed salmon cakes or transforms into a flaky salade niçoise. Compliments to photographer Patricia Brabant for making the most of an unphotogenic subject. (Chronicle Books, $18.95)

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