Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Wine Poach Salmon

Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation. – Friedrich Nietzsche 

A necessity.

Some things everyone really needs to know how to do: ride a bicycle, swim, tie your shoes...

In a culinary sense, poaching salmon is almost as important. At least to me it is (thanks, Nietzsche).

It’s such a simple thing, but so many people seem to be able to bollocks it up like nobody’s business. I used to be one of those people, but no more.

For liquid you could add just water, or water with a little
vinegar or lemon. But I find 100% wine is best.
Salmon is quite a delicate – and expensive – fish. So you may as well try to cook it to perfection whenever you are lucky enough to have it. For simple preparation this can’t be beat. And it’s impressive too. Any perfectly cooked piece of fish is, though.

It’s a shame that salmon is so expensive. It’s among the most beneficial fish we can eat. It's mostly because of the omega-3 fatty acids it contains.

Two servings of salmon per week can potentially reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease and heart attack. 

A Swedish study (decades long) also found a 30% reduction in prostate cancer among men who consumed salmon regularly. Omega-3 fatty acids also play a role in preventing depression.

Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA), which are important for heart health. Most salmon in grocery stores is farmed salmon. Notwithstanding the controversy over salmon farming and wild populations, the health benefits of eating either are the same.

So if you’re looking for wild salmon watch what you buy. Wild salmon is alsways labelled as “wild.”

This is one of those recipes that take no time and no fancy techniques or ingredients. Try this one the next time you’re having someone over for a romantic dinner for two. Just halve the amount of fish, not the other ingredients.

There were two of us so that’s what I did. For side dishes I prepared broccoli and quinoa. Both take the same amount of time to cook as the fish.

Wine Poached Salmon
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook: 10 min  |  Yield 4 portions
4 salmon portions, about 1” thick each
1 medium onion
rind of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1/2 tsp tarragon
1/2 to 3/4 cup white wine (depending on surface area of your pan)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt
lemon wedges

Place the onions in the bottom of a sauté or frying pan with a lid. Trim the rind from 1/2 a lemon and julienne. Add the lemon, peppercorns and tarragon to the onions.

Then pour in the wine and add the butter. Lay the salmon on top of the onions and sprinkle with salt.

Cover the fish, bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Let the fish cook for 8-10 minutes for 1” thick pieces. Make sure not quite all the wine evaporates. If your lid doesn’t fit well you may have to add a slight bit more

To serve, remove the salmon and turn the heat up under the pan. Cook for a minute or two until almost all the wine has evaporated. 

Strain out the solids and pour the flavoured butter over the plated fish. Serve with a lemon wedge.


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