And while at one time that had everything to do with one stylistically monochromatic summer when our entire wardrobe ranged from pale peach Polo shirts to deep orange-y red pedicures, this is a food blog, so we don’t even need any sort of clarification.
We’re eating a lot of fish.
It started with Eating Rainbow, when salmon was going to be the healthy, omega-3 laden protein part of “orange,” but we couldn’t squeeze it in between all the brightly colored beta-carotene bearing produce. Besides, we eventually came to the realization that a single post about the fish wasn’t going to cut it. A whole side of salmon? We could post for a week!
And that’s what we’re attempting this week.
Poaching is one of my favorite ways of cooking salmon, since there’s very little chance of overcooking it or drying it out. (For some reason, I am much better with timing on the stovetop than I am with an oven or worse, a grill). I’ve always just lowered a large piece of salmon into a pot of simmering water and let it relax there for about 10 minutes. I actually prefer fish like salmon (and tuna) slightly more rare, so I pull it out even a little earlier. We eat some for a meal that night, then put the rest in the refrigerator to eat all week.
Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home cookbook has a recipe for Poached Salmon that is a little more involved. As usual, it recommends the use of equipment that no normal person has in her kitchen: a fish poacher. However, there are instructions for how to get around it, using a deep roasting pan and rack, which I sort of did, except that I used a regular, though very large, pot.
Once salmon is poached, it can be served in so many ways, one of which, of course, is just simply with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and fresh herbs. After that, the possibilities are endless, though we cut ourselves off after about 17.
Poached Salmon Recipe from Ad Hoc at Home
Court Bouillon (recipe below)
One 2 ½- to 3-pound side of salmon, pin bones removed
Maldon sea salt or other flaky sea salt
Small dill sprigs
Extra virgin olive oil
makes about 5 quarts
4 leeks (white and light green parts only), split lengthwise, washed well, and cut cross-wise into ½-inch pieces
4 large carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick rounds
3 cups coarsely chopped onions
2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 sachet (1 bay leaf, 3 thyme sprigs, 10 black peppercorns, 1 smashed garlic clove)
4 quarts water
2 cups dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
1 cup white wine vinegar
2 lemons, halved
Combine vegetables and sachet in large stock pot, add water, bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and add wine and vinegar. Squeeze lemon juice then add lemon halves to the pot. Return to simmer.
Use as directed in remainder of recipe.
Poached Salmon Directions
Strain court bouillon into saucepan and heat over medium-high heat to 200F (reserve the vegetables).
Put fish skin side down on a rack in a large roasting pan and add enough court bouillon liquid to cover the fish completely. If space allows, add some of the reserved vegetables back into the court bouillon. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the liquid back to 200F. Adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a temperature of 190F to 200F.
To Serve the Salmon Cold (Room Temperature)
Remove the pan from the heat when the center of the fillet reaches 110F, about 10 minutes. Let the salmon sit in the liquid off the heat. Allow the fish to cool in the liquid, then refrigerate in the liquid for up to one day. Use the largest spatulas you have (or your hands) to gently lift the salmon from the liquid. Drain well and place on serving platter.
To Serve the Salmon Hot
Remove the pan from the heat when the center of the fillet reaches 120F. Let the salmon sit in the liquid off the heat until the internal temperature reaches 125F, then use the largest spatulas you have to gently lift the salmon from the liquid. Drain well and place on serving platter. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt and dill and drizzle with olive oil.