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Poached Fish Recipe

Updated on September 1, 2012
Poaching fish is one of the quickest and easiest ways to cook fish.  It's one of the best ways to not overcook it.
Poaching fish is one of the quickest and easiest ways to cook fish. It's one of the best ways to not overcook it. | Source

Poaching is an Easy Way to Cook Fish


A method very much like steaming, poaching is a great way to cook fish. One of the main reasons this author enjoys poaching fish is that the fish pretty much retains its original texture. This means that it doesn't fall apart when it's done cooking--always a plus!

It's a little harder to overcook fish using this method but it still can be done. Be sure and study the time table below for the approximate poaching times. It is a very fast method for cooking fish but the flavor is incredible.

Also keep in mind that the thickness or kind of the fish is really important when it comes to poaching. For instance, Dover sole is a very flat, thin fish and takes only a fraction of the time that a thick salmon steak will take to reach maximum doneness.

Test your fish every few minutes to be assured it's cooking but not overcooked. Again, though poaching is a preferred way to keep fish from drying out, you can still overcook fish by steaming it for too long.

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Cast your vote for Poached Salmon Recipe

Cook Time

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 10 min
Ready in: 25 min
Yields: Serves 4 people 6 ounces of salmon

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds salmon or other fish fillet, (pin bones removed)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, (substitute cooking spray)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, (cut in long slices)
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dry vermouth, (or dry white wine)
  • 1/4 cup water, (or vegetable broth)
  • dash kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh dill, (or use dried dill weed)
  • fresh lemons, (sprinkle before cooking or after and serve fresh slices atop fish or with fish)
Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 4 ounces
Calories 216
Calories from Fat108
% Daily Value *
Fat 12 g18%
Saturated fat 2 g10%
Unsaturated fat 4 g
Carbohydrates 1 g
Sugar 0 g
Fiber 0 g
Protein 23 g46%
Cholesterol 67 mg22%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Instructions

  1. Use a large pan such as a sauteusse pan with a lid--preferrably one that has steam vents. Or use a specialty poaching pan. Any large pan will do but the pan needs to have a rack fit into the bottom to keep the fish out of the poaching liquid.
  2. Sweat (saute lightly) the onion and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat. When onions become translucent, that's perfect.
  3. Add water, soy sauce and dry vermouth to the pan and stir to combine. You should have enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan and onions just barely.
  4. Add fresh dill and/or dried dill weed and any other spices such as peppercorns to the poaching liquid.
  5. Place wire rack on top of onion mixture in pan--bring the poaching liquid to a slow boil.
  6. Wash and dry salmon or fish fillet. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt. Place fillet atop the rack in the pan. Cover with lid.
  7. Reduce heat until just simmering and set timer for 5-7 minutes. Check every few minutes until fish begins to flake.
  8. Remove immediately to platter with large wide spatula. Remember if you cover the fish with foil, it will continue to cook a bit--maybe 5 or so degrees--so make sure you take it out of the poaching steam at the right stage of doneness. Slice and serve with fresh lemon slices atop or on the side.

Step By Step Guide to Poached Fish

Start with a large pan that is good for poaching. You can buy specialty pans but any pan with a tight fitting lid will do. This pan is a sauteusse pan which has built in steam holes--perfect for this job!

Use a pan that's large enough to fit some kind of rack in to keep the fish up out of the poaching or steaming liquid.
Use a pan that's large enough to fit some kind of rack in to keep the fish up out of the poaching or steaming liquid.

Begin adding flavoring ingredients. I traditionally always use onion and a little bit of minced garlic. But I like to sweat my onions and garlic before I start poaching with them. Add a tiny bit of olive oil and heat the onions and garlic until onions are just translucent.

Your nose or translucency of the onions will let you know when they are "sweated" just right.
Your nose or translucency of the onions will let you know when they are "sweated" just right.

Add your other poaching ingredients. At this point, I added low-sodium soy sauce and water. I then added my extra dry vermouth to the mixture along with my sprigs of fresh dill weed. I sprinkled the salmon fillet with a tiny bit of kosher salt. You can also substitute dried dill weed for the fresh sprigs.

Place your fish in on top of the racks which are on top of or in the poaching liquid.  The fish should not touch the poaching liquid at all.
Place your fish in on top of the racks which are on top of or in the poaching liquid. The fish should not touch the poaching liquid at all.

Poaching takes an incredibly short period of time--see table below. I clocked this salmon fillet out at about 5-7 minutes total time to poach it to perfection.

The fish is done when it just begins to flake.  Remember that it will cook a wee bit longer after you remove it, especially if you cover with foil.
The fish is done when it just begins to flake. Remember that it will cook a wee bit longer after you remove it, especially if you cover with foil.

Be sure and watch my YouTube video below for the entire recipe from start to finish. This is one of the quickest ways (and one of the most delicious) to cook a fish.

Timetable for Poaching Fish

Type of Cut
Minimum
Maximum
Thin Fillet
3 minutes
7 minutes
Thick Fillet
5 minutes
12 minutes
Fish Steaks
10 minutes
20 minutes
Large Whole Fish
15 minutes
30 minutes
As can be noted from the table above, even cooking a whole fish takes very little time.

Things You Can Poach Fish In

  • Milk--this works well for white fish like halibut or dover sole
  • Oil--use olive oil and extra virgin olive oil if you can--this will keep the fish really moist
  • Butter--usually used for lobsters and scallops--often served along with the cooked fish
  • Court bouillon--usually made of vegetables, water, vinegar, herbs and salt--a little like the video below
  • Red wine court bouillon--darker, richer version of the above--usually served with the fish
  • White wine court bouillon or vermouth or other bouillon--just about any kind of liquid can be used to poach fish--use your imagination and try different mediums to see how the final cooked product tastes

Poached Salmon Recipe Step by Step Guide

Have you ever poached a fish?

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Comments

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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Om - Griffin thought so too~

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      5 years ago

      I like poaching fish, too. This recipe sounds lovely. Dill and salmon are a scrumptious pairing. Rated way up!

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 years ago from Washington

      Thanks, Virginia - enjoy~

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      5 years ago from United States

      I've never tried this--great recipe. I will definitely have to get some salmon this week! Voted up and pinned.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 years ago from Washington

      Thanks so much Joyce~

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I totally enjoyed watching your video it is very helpful. I'm going to print up the recipe for another time and I try to let you know how successful I was.

      Voted up and awesome, Joyce.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      5 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Carol---it is so easy it should be a sin~~~ On the video, if you watch it...even Griffin my malamute gives it 2 paws up - you can hear him howling in the background--I couldn't BELIEVE he did that! He definitely loves salmon too!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      Looks like a healthy and easy way to cook fish. I love salmon and the recipe looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing this method of c ooking. Voted UP.

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