Father's Day

Sake-Poached Salmon with Avocado-Mango "Salsa"

July 14, 2014
0 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Salmon and avocado make a lovely and nutritious combination with texture, color and flavor. I wanted to use salmon 2 ways: poached, and your choice of either velvety smoked, or salmon jerky with its concentrated flavor. An article by Kenji Lopez-Alt in a special issue of Cook's Illustrated, "Cooking Fresh", for shallow-poached salmon, provided the technique; I subbed sake for white wine. I experimented with lemon slices, as suggested by Kenji, then realized other ingredients could also provide both flavor and insulation, and the reduction used as a light sauce. I used a combination of Vidalia onion and lemon slices. Mangoes caught my eye at the market, so a sparkling salsa followed. Buckwheat or regular noodles and quick-pickled cucumbers would be delicious accompaniments.

If making ahead, add the avocado dice just before serving to retain color. —creamtea

What You'll Need
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Vidalia onion, halved and 3 slices cut from the center
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 1-1/2 pounds fresh salmon fillets, preferably wild-caught, either sockeye or King. cut into 4 portions
  • 2/3 cup Sake
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon good-quality soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced, soaked in salted water for 5 minutes
  • 3/4 packet salmon jerky, moreor less, coarsely crumbled or 2 ounces delicate smoked salmon such as Gaspé, diced, for garnish
  • toasted black sesame seeds for garnish, if desired
  1. Line a dinner plate or platter with several thicknesses of paper towel and set aside.
  2. Trim off ends of lemon and cut four 1/4" slices. Leave about 1/3 of the lemon uncut for juicing later.
  3. In a single layer in bottom of a 12-inch sauté pan, place 3-4 lemon slices. Separate onion slices into rings and add them to the bottom of the pan, creating a "platform" to insulate the fish from the bottom of the pan. Lemon slices can be centered in some of the larger onion rings. Pour in water and sake.
  4. Sprinkle diced shallot over lemon and onion slices. Place fish, skin side down, over lemon and onion slices in a single layer with thinner edge facing center of pan.
  5. Place pan over burner on high flame and bring to rapid simmer; cover, turn heat to low, and simmer 10-14 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. Check after the shorter amount of time and continue cooking, covered, if necessary; do not overcook.
  6. With a flexible spatula, remove fish to paper-towel lined plate to drain; cover with foil.
  7. Remove lemon slices from pan. (Onion slices can remain). Place pan over burner on high flame, bring to a boil, and reduce to about 1/3 cup. Pour through a strainer into a heat-proof bowl, and whisk in mirin, sesame oil and soy sauce. Set aside.
  8. Peel and dice avocado, drizzle with a little Mirin and juice from the reserved part of the lemon, and toss with mango, and sliced shallot,. Add a few spoonfuls of cooking liquid.Add the rice vinegar.
  9. In each of four plates, place a portion of salmon. Spoon some salsa over each salmon portion, drizzle salmon and salsa with more cooking liquid, garnish with either diced smoked salmon or crumbled salmon jerky and toasted sesame seeds if desired. Serve with a side rice or with buckwheat noodles and thinly sliced slaw seasoned with rice vinegar, mirin and toasted sesame seeds if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Annie stader
    Annie stader
  • aargersi
  • creamtea
  • jph

10 Reviews

Annie S. August 2, 2016
It makes great BLTs!
creamtea August 2, 2016
I bet! I like salmon skin roll sushi, so why not?
Annie S. August 2, 2016
i made this again and did not have salmon jerky for a garnish. I just seasoned and fried the salmon skin and crumbled it like bacon bits. It was really good.
creamtea August 2, 2016
Annie, great idea to use the salmon skin! Salmon bacon!
Annie S. July 17, 2016
I tested this for the contest and my husband and I devoured it! It is just delicious and I will make it again and again!
creamtea July 17, 2016
Thanks for trying it out, Annie and for letting me know! I'm so glad you and your husband liked it!
jph August 3, 2014
This sounds like a very flavorful way to poach the salmon I'm defrosting now! But I have a question re "1 Tbsp of rice vinegar" listed under ingredients but can't find it in the directions. Is it used for the salmon or the salsa? Thank you for your help.
creamtea August 5, 2014
It should be used in the salsa.
aargersi July 15, 2014
Wow does this ever sound good, definitely need to try it!!!
creamtea July 15, 2014
Thanks, Abbie, I hope you try it!