Disneyland Paris is perhaps the most improbable location that the literary James Bond has ever visited. But in 1993, just a year after the park, then called Euro Disney, was opened, John Gardner sent Bond there in his novel Never Send Flowers. More bizarrely still, we learn that this is not Bond’s first encounter with the world of Disney, having previously visited the Magic Kingdom Theme Park in Orlando.
Bond is not visiting Disneyland Paris simply for his own amusement – though he appears to be affected by the spectacle and pervading feeling of happiness around the park and has fond memories of his time in Orlando – but is there to thwart the deadly plans of the villain David Dragonpol, who has planted a bomb on the site. Bond, disguised as an old man, spends time wandering around the park trying to spot Dragonpol or work out what Dragonpol has in store.
And naturally, it is essential that James Bond has a go on the rides in the course of his investigations. He visits Phantom Manor, watches the rollercoaster of Big Thunder Mountain, lingers at the riverboat landing to observe people boarding one of the two replica steamboats, Molly Brown and Mark Twain, queues up for the Star Tours ride, floats around the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, gets caught up by the excitement of the Parade, enjoys a salmon steak at the Blue Lagoon restaurant, and stays for the Electrical Parade and the fireworks at the end of the day.
For those wishing to replicate James Bond’s experiences at Disneyland Paris, the park remains largely unchanged since the publication of Gardner’s novel. All the attractions that Bond goes on are still there, and the details of the rides are just as John Gardner described them (except that it is not Rex the Robot that is piloting the spacecraft in Star Tours, but C3PO). The Electrical Parade, however, no longer takes place and the Blue Lagoon restaurant is now called Captain Jack’s Restaurant des Pirates.
Speaking of the Blue Lagoon, Bond’s salmon steak does not appear on the menu (images of which can be found online), but possibly salmon has been offered in the past as a ‘catch of the day’, which is on the menu. Actually, it is not quite true that salmon is not on the menu. Salmon fillet with a lemon sauce does appear (accompanied by rice and vegetables), but as an option for children aged 3 to 11! Did Gardner give Bond the kids’ meal just because, as we know from Ian Fleming’s stories, Bond is rather partial to salmon?
Whatever the case, salmon with a lemon sauce is a treat for diners of any age, and so I present a recipe here. In this version, which works equally well for a salmon steak, the fish is cooked ‘en papillote’; Bond has fish cooked this way in From Russia, With Love. I also add a little hot pepper sauce to the lemon sauce for a taste of the Caribbean.
- 2 salmon fillets or steaks
- Black pepper
For the sauce
- 25g plain flour
- 30g butter
- 200ml vegetable stock
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp finely chopped parsley
- Hot pepper sauce
Heat the oven to 190C (170C fan-assisted; 375F). Squeeze the juice from the lemon. Place the salmon on a large piece of greaseproof or baking paper. Sprinkle a little salt and black pepper and a few drops of lemon juice over the fish. Wrap the fish loosely in the paper, transfer the ‘package’ to a baking tray and place the tray in the oven for approximately 20 minutes.
After about 10 minutes of cooking, start making the sauce. Put the flour and butter into a small saucepan. Over a gentle heat, mix the flour and butter together until the butter has melted and a smooth paste is formed. Pour about a third of the stock into the saucepan. Continue stirring until the stock is incorporated into the sauce. Add another third of the stock and stir it in. Mix in the remaining stock and stir until the sauce is smooth and beginning to bubble. Stir in about half the remaining lemon juice. Add the parsley and a dash or two of hot pepper sauce. Continue stirring until all the ingredients are well combined and heated through. Remove the sauce from the heat. Don’t worry if the sauce is a little thin – it will thicken as it cools.
After the 20 minutes cooking time, remove the tray from the oven, carefully unwrap the fish and transfer them to individual plates. Pour or spoon a generous amount of sauce over the fish. Serve with rice and vegetables (for example asparagus, which Bond enjoys).