Poached Salmon with Three Sauces

I love cold poached salmon and it’s the perfect vehicle for a variety of delicious sauces. I couldn’t decide between a cucumber dill, my favorite, a mustard or something with a bite like watercress. Since watercress isn’t in season, I substituted arugula and added some cucumber and a touch of lemon zest. That’s how I ended up with Poached Salmon with Three Sauces!

The irregular shape of salmon presents a challenge to even cooking. I removed the thin edge along the length of the salmon and poached it as a separate piece for four minutes and cut the rest of the salmon into six equal portions, which I poached for seven minutes.

A rich poaching liquid adds depth of flavor to the salmon. Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup. Add the aromatics and cold water, bring to a boil, lower the heat to a gentle simmer and continue cooking for half an hour. Strain and thoroughly chill the poaching liquid.

Both the fish and the poaching liquid must be the same temperature at the start of cooking to cook the fish evenly. Use a gentle simmer  to prevent the vigorous bubbles of boiling liquid from breaking apart the salmon, it’s very fragile.

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Poached Salmon with Three Sauces

A delicious assortment of sauces to complement poached salmon.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 portions
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Poaching

Ingredients

Poaching Liquid
2 cups dry white wine
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
2 large celery stalks, thinly sliced
4 whole garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
12 whole black peppercorns
2 1/2 quarts cold water

Poached Salmon
3 pounds center-cut salmon, skin removed, dark meat trimmed and cut into 6 even portions*

Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and peppercorns and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Chill the liquid thoroughly.

Place the prepared salmon in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all pieces. Pour the cold poaching liquid over the fish to cover completely; if necessary add a little water to make sure the tops of the salmon are submerged.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer; cook for 7-8 minutes.

Mustard Sauce
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
2 tablespoons coarse mustard
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Watercress Sauce
1 cup sour cream
1 cup tightly packed arugula or watercress
1/2 cup seeded, 1/2-inch dice cucumber
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

 

Cucumber Dill Sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
1 cup seeded, 1/2-inch dice cucumber
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon white wine or champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Instructions

Poaching Liquid

Place the wine in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil and reduce to ½ cup.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, salt and peppercorns and water to the saucepan and bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Strain the poaching liquid and discard the vegetables. Chill the liquid thoroughly.

Poached Salmon

Place the prepared salmon in the bottom of a pan large enough to hold all pieces. Pour the cold poaching liquid over the fish to cover completely; if necessary add a little water to make sure the tops of the salmon are submerged.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer; cook for 7-8 minutes.

Mustard Sauce

Whisk all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Watercress Sauce

Place the ingredients in the base of a blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

Cucumber Dill Sauce

Place the ingredients in the base of a blender or food processor and puree. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Can be made up to 3 days in advance.

 

Notes

*Slice the thin edge that runs the length of the salmon. Poach for 3-4 minutes.

 

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