I ♥ fish, but I confess that I shy away from cooking it on a daily basis because of the strong smell. And I'm not one to shy away from food smells, but when you are in a small, open loft apartment, it's something you think twice about. A. and I spend hours devising ways to keep my many food experiments from spreading to the whole apartment!
So, when I read recently that poaching fish is virtually odorless, I was sold. Plus, I enjoy the moist texture of poached fish fillets, and it's delicate, aromatic taste. It's delicious (and healthy!) served warm with roasted vegetables, or topped with a rich sauce (this recipe with a caper butter sauce sounds delicious), or as part of a french Nicoise salad (instead of canned tuna).
Traditionally, the fish is poached in a pot called a 'poissonierre' which is elongated to fit a large whole fish. It contains a liftable tray (almost like a pasta pot) that easily separates the fish from the liquid. Although it is a wonderful pot, you can poach fish in any sort of heavy skillet or dutch oven.
I got the most wonderful surprise last Friday when I got home and had this beautiful, new 5 qt dutch oven sitting atop my stove. Can you believe it? It's like the kitchen fairy snuck in and left me goodies! Well, no, it wasn't a fairy, it was a wonderful gift from my parents to whom I've been endlessly telling (and they've patiently listened) about all of my kitchen obsessions. Well, since last week, I've used it in all my cooking. It's the perfect size (not to mention color!). ...And perfect for this recipe.
You can poach many different fish, but, thicker, more solid fish works best, such as: salmon, cod, tuna, or monkfish. I used wild salmon fillets. Poached salmon is usually seasoned with dill, but I used cilantro which I think goes wonderfully with fish. To serve, I drizzled it with a bit of olive oil and fresh lemon. Very simple. It's a perfect weeknight meal... the best part: the leftovers will be delicious tomorrow over a salad!
4 - 4oz fillets of Wild Salmon (about 1" thick)
2 cups dry white wine
3 cups water
2 Carrots, chopped
Fresh Cilantro, chopped
Salt & Pepper
1 tablespoon Strong mustard (such as Colmans or a Dijon)
Season the salmon fillets with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, salt & pepper, and a smear of mustard.
In a heavy skillet or dutch oven, over high heat, add the wine, water, juice of 1/2 a lemon along with the lemon rind, a bunch of chopped cilantro, chopped carrots, and salt & pepper to taste.
When the liquid boils, carefully add the salmon fillets. Make sure the fish is fully submerged in the liquid. Lower to medium-high heat and allow the liquid to continue to simmer. Cook the fish for 3 minutes on one side and then flip over the fillets for another 3 minutes. Be careful, this will cook very quickly.
Remove the fillets from the liquid and serve warm with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh cilantro, or allow the fish to cool and store in the fridge for cold salads.
*The seasonings to the wine/water can be changed to your tastes. Try dill and shallots, or even add beetroot for added color and a bit of earthiness.