Aromatic Poached Salmon with Rye and Caper Breadcrumbs

November 20, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: When I think of stale bread, bread pudding is always my first thought. It is one of my favorite comfort foods, sweet or savory. However, my family recently enjoyed delicious Spaghetti with Sardines, Dill and Fried Capers from Gourmet – a riff off the Sicilian classic Pasta con Sarde – and it immediately gave me the idea to shower a salmon fillet in seasoned breadcrumbs. From there the rest was easy, choosing accompanying flavors that pair well with salmon and a technique that is so easy, I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Gin imparts more fragrance than flavor, delicately perfuming the fish with juniper goodness.
Note: For a gluten free version, this is also delicious using Udi's Multigrain bread for the breadcrumbs.

Food52 Review: Very nice dish. I really enjoyed it! The only thing is that I ended up doubling the amount of capers, horseradish & mayo into the breadcrumb mixture. Poaching the fish with the herbs added a really nice aromatic flavor to the dish. The variety of the bread types in the breadcrumbs was also a nice, unique touch. audrey kasindorf

Serves: 4-6



  • 2-3 slices stale Pumpernickel dark rye, thick crusts removed (you want to end up with 1/2 cup of stale breadcrumbs)
  • 2-3 slices stale French baguette, thick crusts removed (you want to end up with 1/2 cup of stale breadcrumbs


  • 1/2 cup gin
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1-1 1/2 pounds salmon fillet, preferably wild
  • 3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup mixed Pumpernickel/French breadcrumbs (more crumb than sand)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
In This Recipe



  1. Note: Here in Hawaii, sliced bread molds faster than it gets stale. I sliced and cubed two pieces from each of my day old loaves and then popped them into a 350°F oven for about 10 minutes to dry out the bread a little more. Feel free to stale your bread using whatever technique works in your climate.
  2. Make your breadcrumbs by cubing your bread slices (Pumpernickel and French) and giving them a whirl in the food processor. Pulse until you have mostly uniform, smaller than pea-sized breadcrumbs (the bulk of the mix should be uniform; you’ll also have pulverized sandy-looking bits). Be careful not to overheat your processor.


  1. In a sauté pan or skillet with a lid, add the gin and water. Place salmon in the center of your pan and evenly distribute parsley, dill and lemon zest on top of fish, pressing down slightly with your finger. Cover pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until desired doneness, about 6-7 minutes. Since you will be covering the fillet with breadcrumbs, it is okay to test doneness with a sharp knife in the center of fillet. Do not overcook. Transfer to a serving platter.
  2. While your salmon is poaching, get started on your breadcrumbs.
  3. In a skillet, melt the butter, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the butter begins to brown and is fragrant. Carefully add your breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring constantly until they are crisp and golden (the rye crumbs will be darker than golden), about a minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in capers, horseradish and mayonnaise. Thoroughly combine mixture using a heatproof spatula. Shower salmon with your breadcrumbs and enjoy!

More Great Recipes:

Reviews (7) Questions (0)

7 Reviews

Carrie B. April 27, 2015
Could this be served cold like classic poached salmon? Would the crumb mixture be inedible if cold?
Author Comment
gingerroot April 27, 2015
I think it would be fine if the crumb mixture was made and then cooled to room temperature. That way the topping would still be crispy.
Carrie B. April 27, 2015
Sandy April 27, 2015
Could I substitute Wahoo or Mahi Mahi for the Salmon? We caught some big ones yesterday fishing in the Cayman Islands.
Author Comment
gingerroot April 27, 2015
Obviously the flavor would be different, since salmon has such a specific taste, but I don't see why it would not work. I'd be curious to hear how it turns out if you give it a try.
Jim L. December 10, 2012
Thought I was done with wild salmon for this season... but, I guess not. This looks good and easy.
Author Comment
gingerroot December 11, 2012
Thank you, Jim! It is easy. And good! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you give it a try. Happy Holidays.