I enjoy poaching salmon because it keeps its flesh ever so delicate and moist as well as being healthy. And the best part is to be able to play with poaching liquid with different ingredients. This recipe has a classic Asian flavor combination of miso and ginger. No matter what you have in the liquid, the key is not to poach your fish in a boiling hot water. Let’s face it, there is nothing worse than tough and overcooked fish (well, besides overcooked chicken)… Anyway, I promise this is not going to be one of those badly cooked fish dishes. I believe when you have a beautiful ingredient like this you really should make an effort to do it justice. —JIN
Test Kitchen Notes
To the recipe's credit, poaching salmon does the fish justice, especially when the poaching liquid is nicely flavored and can be used as a broth in the dish. The recipe did not specify whether to cut the ginger, so I went with instinct and sliced the large peeled chunk of ginger into about 6 pieces. That flavored the broth nicely, without overwhelming the miso.
The primary problem with the recipe however is that it gives an absolute number of minutes for poaching the salmon, without regard to the size, especially the thickness, of the piece being poached. I removed ours 5 minutes shy of the prescribed poaching period which was just in the nick of time, at least for the larger parts of the pieces we poached. The tapered side was a bit overcooked.
We also liked how well-suited this dish is to weeknight cooking. I ended up throwing some thick julienned carrots into the poaching liquid with the fish, while steaming broccoli florets and snap peas in a small saucepan with about 1/2 cup of the poaching liquid, to make a satisfying one-bowl dinner.
Additionally, the strong flavors of the sesame oil and soy sauce used to toss the soba overwhelmed the miso, and even the stronger ginger flavor, of the broth.
The broth itself is a bit oily from the fat just under the skin of the fish. Next time, I'll toss the soba immediately with some of the broth, skipping the sesame oil. I'll also make a note to use a thermometer to stop the poaching at the correct time. —AntoniaJames
Add and mix all ingredients for the poaching liquid in a pot. Bring it to a boil and turn the heat down to medium. Simmer the liquid for 5 minutes and turn the heat down to very low, as low as you can. Make sure you only see a few gentle bubbles or less and place the salmon (skin-side down if it is on). Add a little more water if the fish is not completely covered. Stay in a very low heat and poach the salmon for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook dried soba noodles in a boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes. Drain, rinse briefly, and season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
After 12 minutes, remove pot from the heat, cover it with a lid and leave for 3 minutes. Carefully take out the salmon (do not throw away the broth) and set aside to cool for a few minutes. The fish should be cooked to tender medium, opaque outside and slightly translucent in the middle. If you are using a fillet with skin, gently remove it when the fish is cool enough to handle. It should come off quite easily.
Plate the noodles and fish with chopped spring onions and toasted sesame seeds. Serve it with a bowl of miso and ginger broth you cooked salmon in.