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How to poach a side of salmon

Updated March 23, 2017

Poaching involves cooking food in water or other liquid just below its boiling point. It is a gentle and delicate method of cooking. Poached foods can be visually unappealing, (boiled beef, anyone?) because they lacks the searing or grill marks that whet the appetite. Salmon, with its pink flesh, avoids this problem. Poached salmon is an excellent centrepiece for dinner, lunch or brunch.

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  1. Add water to pan. Bring to a boil. While waiting for pot to boil, rinse the fillet in water. Pat dry and inspect for small pin bones, which you should remove.

  2. Lower the heat. After the water has boiled, immediately lower the heat so that it produces one or two bubbles only very occasionally. Add the bay leaf, three sprigs parsley, 1 tsp sea salt, 60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice and 120 ml (1/2 cup) wine. Place salmon fillet gently into the water.

  3. Cook for eight to ten minutes for a fillet that is 2.5 cm (one inch) thick. Add another 8 to ten minutes for each 2.5 cm (inch) of thickness for the fillet. Gently remove from water using slotted spatulas, supporting the fillet from both sides and allowing water to drain before placing fillet on a serving platter. Garnish with lemons, thin sliced wedges.

  4. Tip

    This method is a good starting point for many recipes. Poached salmon is traditionally served with a lemon-dill sauce, but it also goes nicely on a bed of greens, served with a vinaigrette. You can also adjust the poaching liquid to your desires, adding more lemon juice and less wine, or swapping out herbs.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pan, wide enough for the entire side of salmon, and deep enough to cover fillet with 2.5 cm (one inch) of water.
  • Two slotted spatulas
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) white wine
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Lemons

About the Author

Philadelphia-based freelancer Pat Kelley has been writing since 2002, most recently for Scripps Texas Newspapers. He has won numerous awards for reporting. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science.

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