Poached Salmon is Like Cardboard!

I need to poach salmon on the stovetop for someone who can't have any oil (hence the poaching.) I've tried it a few times, and the flavor is good, but the fish turns very stiff and hard. The salmon I use has been previously frozen, if that makes a difference. (Of course, I thaw it before cooking.) Has anyone had this problem? What am I doing wrong?



Michele May 6, 2016
I poach salmon often and have used orange juice and water, orange juice straight or white wine. I find that if you keep it really, really low it helps, also cover the salmon with slices of cucumber / orange / lemon. However, if the salmon was previously frozen it does end up dry and not as pleasant. Using fresh seems to be the key.
Windischgirl May 6, 2016
Try my recipe for Swedish Fish: https://food52.com/recipes/35918-swedish-fish. The poaching liquid is boiled to concentrate the flavors, but once you had the fish it simply sits in the hot water. Moist (!) every time.
Windischgirl May 6, 2016
Melusine May 2, 2016
I swear by Cook's Illustrated Oven-Poached Whole Salmon --https://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/834-oven-poached-whole-salmon

If you don't subscribe --

1 whole salmon (5 to 8 pounds), gutted, scaled, washed well, and fins trimmed away with kitchen shears
3tablespoons cider vinegar, rice vinegar, or white-wine vinegar
1tablespoon table salt
½teaspoon table salt
2 lemons, one sliced and the other squeezed to yield 3 tablespoons juice

Wrap in a foil tent; bake at 250 degrees for 2 - 2.5 hours until it's 125 - 130 degrees inside. Even ho-hum farmed salmon comes out nicely -- especially if served with Mrs Larkin's Special Sauce.
scruz May 2, 2016
in my own experience, i have had lesser quality (less fatty salmon) and find it to be too dry for my tastes. try to find out the type of salmon (king is great; keta or dog salmon not so good in my and others' opinions) before you buy it. here is a link to epicurious on salmon: http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/how-to-buy-salmon-at-the-grocery-store-article
C S. May 2, 2016
The acidity of the orange juice could mean the cooking time needs to be less. Think of what lemon juice does to ceviche. That's a guess but it could be a factor.
amysarah May 2, 2016
Sounds like you're poaching at too high a water temp - it should be just simmering, not at a hard boil - and/or for too long a time.
Angelique May 2, 2016
Thanks! I just thought of something, too: My poaching liquid was half water, half orange juice. Would that make a difference?
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