Looking for suggestions for a 2 1/2 - 3 lb. side of salmon to be poached in an aluminum poacher in the oven. I need advice for length of time in oven, poaching liquid and sauce.
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Pegeen is a trusted home cook.
A good friend is well known for what she calls her “Irresponsible Poached Salmon.” She has a copper fish pot but that's not necessary, any big-enough pan to hold the fish will do. She throws in the salmon, covers it with water to a half-inch above the fish, throws in a handful of lemon slices and another handful of whole green peppercorns, a couple chunks of butter, generous pinch of salt, and puts it covered on the stove top over two burners until a good simmer is going, then uncovers, reduces the simmer to low and keeps an eye on it. She has made it so often that at this point, the salmon just talks to her and tells her when it is done. She serves it with a dollop of crème fraiche mixed with some fresh, chopped herbs. Boiled new potatoes with parsley and a plain green salad with mustard vinaigrette. And a crusty baguette, of course.
You could use the same ingredients for an oven-poaching approach – I tried to approximate the oven time below. If you poach in mostly water, stove-top or oven, and need to create a sauce, crème fraiche mixed with a little chopped fresh dill is great. If you don’t have crème fraiche, mix a little sour cream with plain yogurt (greek or regular), add some chopped fresh dill (or herb of your choice). If you have some capers, nice to sprinkle some (drained) on top.
But if you use the following recipe, the poaching bouillon provides a great base for a sauce you'll make after removing the fish to let it rest.
This is a good, flavorful recipe for poaching fish in a "Court Bouillon" (a classic broth with vegetables). The bouillon becomes the base for a sauce that lets the salmon shine. I pulled it out of my working file for salmon, so that means I tried it at least once and it worked for salmon.
Sea Bass Poached in a Court Bouillon by Emeril
2-1/2 to 3 lbs of salmon should take 30-40 minutes in a 350 oven. Check after 30 minutes at thickest part of the salmon: use a knife and fork to poke in and gently separate to check interior. Salmon should be opaque and flake easily. Don’t overcook it - you can take it out of the oven a little early and let rest under tented foil while you finish the sauce.
Here's another recipe: Amanda's "Poaching in Oil." This would be on the stove top vs the oven. It doesn't make a sauce, so you could use the quick recipe above for mixing creme fraiche with fresh herbs to make a sauce (or some sour cream and plain yogurt to substitute for creme fraiche).
40 minutes seems to long to me. I'd start checking at the 15 minute mark to get a sense of where the fish is. At the end of the day, cooking time will depend on how thick the salmon is.
Place the salmon in your pot and cover with cold water. Add peppercorns, lemon slices, butter, etc. and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, remove it from the heat, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Done!
Sorry, that is too long in the oven. When I wrote to check after 30 minutes, I was thinking 10 minutes per lb, not per inch, which is the usual rule of thumb. Hope it turns out well!
Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.
I made poached salmon last night - I used white wine, fresh thyme and marjoram, salt and pepper and lemon. I brought it to a bare simmer for just 203 minutes then turned it off and let it rest. I was perfect - I then strained the wine and used it to make risotto, and stirred the salmon into that at the very end. Yum. My piece was about a half pound ...
2 or 3 minutes, not 203 - that would be too long - ha!
I agree with Petitbleu - her instructions are exactly the same those in both Joy of Cooking and Bittman's How to Cook Everything. In fact they each use plain salt water, which works great. But adding lemon and peppercorns doesn't hurt.