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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?

asked by Angelique 7 months ago
8 answers 813 views
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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added 7 months ago

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.

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added 7 months ago

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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added 7 months ago

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.

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added 7 months ago

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...

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added 7 months ago

I swear by Cook's Illustrated Oven-Poached Whole Salmon --https://www.cooksillustrated...

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.

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added 7 months ago

Try my recipe for Swedish Fish: https://food52.com/recipes.... 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.

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added 7 months ago

*add
(Autocorrect!?)

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added 7 months ago

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.