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Author Notes: Chef James Briscione's method for poaching anything—meat, fish, vegetables—in milk. —Food52
Makes 2 to 3 pounds of protein or vegetable
- 4 boneless chicken breasts/1 to 2 pounds firm white fish filet/1 to 2 vegetable “steaks”
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 2 ounces butter
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 6 to 8 branches woody herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, oregano)
- 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour (for gluten-free, use rice flour)
- 1 quart whole or 2% milk, plus more as needed
- Zest of 1 lemon, removed with a vegetable peeler
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- pinches nutmeg
- Season the main item (chicken, fish or vegetable) with kosher salt, coating the item well on both sides.
- Melt the butter in a wide bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter is browned and has a roasted, nutty aroma.
- Pat the main item dry and place in the pan, presentation side down, and sear until well-browned. Flip and brown well on the second side. Remove the item from the pan to rest on a rack.
- Add the shallots and garlic to the pan and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes until lightly browned.
- When the shallots and garlic are golden and fragrant, scatter the herbs and flour into the pan. Cook, stirring often, for 1 minute more. Gradually whisk the milk into the pan and bring the mixture to simmer. Add the lemon zest, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
- Add your main ingredient to the pan, and add more milk to cover if needed. Bring the milk in the pan to a light simmer; you are looking to maintain a temperature around 180˚F (82˚C). Cook until proper doneness is reached: boneless chicken, about 20 minutes; fish filets, 12 to 15 minutes; vegetables, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove the items from the pan rest on a rack. The poaching liquid may be reduced to create a sauce if desired: - For chicken, add thinly sliced mushrooms and simmer until tender and thickened. - For fish, reduce until thickened, then remove from the heat and stir in capers, lemon juice, and dill. - For vegetables, reduce until thickened, then remove from the heat and stir in ground chiles, sliced cilantro, and lime juice.
- Garnish with chopped toasted nuts or breadcrumbs.