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Jul 10, 2011 02:33 PM

Necessary ingredients for poaching salmon

I poached two salmon fillets in a court bouillon of

water and chicken stock

sliced onions


celery leaves

parsley leaves

lemon juice

bay leaf

I've not poached salmon in water only, nor with only a couple of ingredients; but frankly, the salmon tasted no different than baked, mostly plain w/a little olive oil.

Seems a waste of time; but I can't vouch for how the salmon might taste with less ingredients.

Does anyone recommend a simpler poaching liquid?

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  1. for basic poached salmon i always do it in equal parts wine and water. if using white wine i also add dill or fennel and a few lemon slices. if it's red wine, usually a couple of sprigs of thyme or rosemary and a splash of vinegar.

    1. Water, fresh herb and maybe some garlic.

      The wonderful thing about poaching fish is that it tastes like FISH (if you can dig it), and not any other flavourings. It's generally perfect the way it is. When I want more than just plain fish, I'll add a sauce like a nice light dill sauce after the fact, but for the poach itself I keep it simple. Wonderful results- just don't overdo it!

        1. re: luniz

          I agree with luniz - I don't really love salmon poached in water or bouillon, but it is delicious poached in olive oil. I feel like it loses a lot of its flavor to the water/liquid in traditional poaching. If I were going to poach in liquid, I'd use white wine as GHG suggested.

          1. re: biondanonima

            Olive oil - interesting.

            I've heard it said, don't cook with any wine that you wouldn't drink. Does that apply to olive oil? (of course, I don't drink olive oil ;-)) )

            I ask because I have great respect for the price I pay for olive oil, which I use generously; but do you actually COVER the fillets in olive oil?

            I can do it.

            1. re: Rella

              do you actually COVER the fillets in olive oil?
              you do. and it's wonderful :) oil-poaching is fantastic for all kinds of fish & shellfish, and it doesn't necessarily have to be olive oil. depending on the flavor you're going for in the final dish, you can use oils like peanut or coconut...or if you want to be *really* decadent you can use duck fat.

              the key to oil poaching is to keep the temperature lower than with poaching in other liquids.

              you might want to start here:

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                Gee Whizzzz! I really appreciate the links, as I would have never imagined cooking fish in oil. Pretty enlightening for me.
                I cannot bring myself to re-use oil, so it will be a good way to use up stocked olive oil (which I do keep in a dark cool-ish part of a dry basement.)

                Thanks to all here for a new way of looking at poached salmon.

        2. Water and ginger.

          Unlike lots of other fish (e.g. white fleshed fish), salmon has a very distinctive taste. Don't want to muddy it up with a very flavorful or fragrant poaching liquid.

          I generally avoid using acids (e.g. lemons or wine) in poaching liquid as I find that it tends to overcook the fish, making it sort of hard and rubbery. But then to each her own.