Poached Salmon (don’t be like me)


I thought that after my salmon chowder post, my seafood fears were gone. Apparently I was wrong, because I just now got around to cooking the rest of the salmon I received from Foodbuzz. And I was nervous about it. For good reason, apparently, as I managed to overcook it to the point that it was almost inedible. You should have seen Mike’s face when he took his first bite. I almost felt bad, until I remembered that hey, at least he had dinner waiting for him when he came home.

The ultimate failure was really a culmination of issues. First, I cooked it from frozen, which meant I couldn’t follow the recipe’s exact cooking times. Since I was confused about that, I decided to use a meat thermometer to help me gauge the temperature. Intelligent choice, right? Umm…only if I actually know the temperature to which salmon is supposed to be cooked. I didn’t (still don’t actually…anyone?), so I did a quick google search, which came up with a number that turned out to be higher than you should ever cook fish. Ever. (My first clue should have been when it matched the “poultry” setting on my thermometer.) Umm..yeah, not my smartest moment. And on top of all that, when I came back into the kitchen after getting wrong answers from google, I found my salmon, which was supposed to be gently simmering in its white wine bath, boiling instead. Yes, boiling. So pretty much there was no hope of this dinner turning out well. Does it make me a bad wife if I gave it to Mike to eat anyway?

All of that to say: Don’t be like me. Don’t overcook your fish. But do make this recipe. Seriously. The flavor was incredible. Good enough that the fish wasn’t terrible, even after I did everything in my power to make it inedible. I served it on top of some brown rice that had been flavored with sesame oil and the leftover poaching liquid. Absolutely delicious. So I encourage you to try this recipe, then report back to me and tell me that you did better than I did. It might make me feel better.

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Poached Salmon

Yield: Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 to 1½ pounds salmon fillets
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup water
A few thin slices of yellow onion and/or 1 shallot, peeled and sliced thin
Several sprigs of fresh dill or sprinkle of dried dill
A sprig of fresh parsley

Directions:

Put wine, water, dill, parsley and onions in a saute pan, and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Salt and pepper salmon, and place, skin-side down on the pan. Cover. Cook 5 minutes or to desired done-ness. Do not overcook.

adapted, slightly, from Simply Recipes

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15 Responses to “Poached Salmon (don’t be like me)”

  1. 1

    Fran — October 4, 2010 @ 3:08 am

    I'm wondering… Do you think you could have chilled it and broken it up to turn it into salmon salad — like tuna, but with salmon, mayo, etc.? It seems like it may have had that texture and the flavoring would have been superior to plain old tuna with the poaching liquid you made.

    Just a thought, not that you're going to end up with overcooked salmon anytime soon.

  2. 2

    kitchen flavours — October 4, 2010 @ 5:21 am

    You are right! At least Mike has homecooked dinner after a long day at work. After all, we are allowed once-in-a-while bad kitchen day! Don't feel bad, you are not the only one in this! I have my fair share too! LOL! Many months from now, when you think about this little episode, it will bring a smile to your face!

  3. 3

    Eliana — October 4, 2010 @ 5:39 pm

    I feel bad sometime because my husband has been known to eat some of my major kitchen failures. So don't feel bad. It's all in a day's work and this recipe here looks fantastic.

  4. 4

    Wendy (The Local Cook) — October 5, 2010 @ 2:07 pm

    I have a recipe for poached fish that I've been avoiding . . . now I have even less confidence!

  5. 5

    megan — October 5, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    Fran – good suggestion on the salmon salad. If I make the same mistake again, I'll definitely try that!

    kitchen flavours – Thanks for your encouragement! :)

    Eliana – It's nice to know everyone has bad kitchen days :)

    Wendy – oh no! That wasn't my intention at all. I promise it's so much easier than I made it sound. Just use a thermometer to tell when your fish is done, and don't boil it – just gently simmer, and you'll be fine. :) Pretty much just don't do what I did. :)

  6. 6

    megan @ whatmegansmaking — October 5, 2010 @ 2:14 pm

    Fran – good suggestion on the salmon salad. If I make the same mistake again, I'll definitely try that!

    kitchen flavours – Thanks for your encouragement! :)

    Eliana – It's nice to know everyone has bad kitchen days :)

    Wendy – oh no! That wasn't my intention at all. I promise it's so much easier than I made it sound. Just use a thermometer to tell when your fish is done, and don't boil it – just gently simmer, and you'll be fine. :) Pretty much just don't do what I did. :)

  7. 7

    the blissful baker — October 5, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

    i love salmon! this looks like a lovely, simple recipe. perfect for a light meal :)

  8. 8

    blackbookkitchendiaries — October 5, 2010 @ 3:32 pm

    this sounds really good. would love to try this out. thank you for sharing.

  9. 9

    Deborah — October 5, 2010 @ 5:05 pm

    You know – I don't know what temp it's supposed to be either! But this does sound wonderful – it must have been if it was still good after being overcooked.

  10. 10

    mindy @ just a one girl revolution. — October 5, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

    Hey Megan! I just saw your comment on Healthy Tipping Point and was excited to see another Michigan blogger! :)

  11. 11

    Sandie — October 5, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

    Salmon can be a bugger to cook. I have a tried & true recipe that still fails me from time to time. No idea why! At least your salmon photographed beautifully, even if was overcooked :)

  12. 12

    Stephanie — October 6, 2010 @ 12:42 am

    Megan, thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm really enjoying yours…better luck next time with the salmon. (I know you can do it!!)

  13. 13

    Jessica — October 6, 2010 @ 2:23 am

    Salmon is a pain in the arse! :-/ Keep at it and you will get it!

  14. 14

    julie — October 6, 2010 @ 11:33 am

    You know, you took the time to cook your hubbie a meal and you learned a bit about poaching in the process. I'd say overcooked or not, it was a success! Believe me, I've served my hubby many a messed up meal in my day.

  15. 15

    Anonymous — June 7, 2011 @ 7:08 am

    poached salmon should be cooked to 131 degrees and then rested for 5 to 10 minutes… but it sucks always. instead buy wild from a good fishmonger and either pan sear, broil, or bilevel (sear then bake at high temp). if you absolutely love cheap crappy cuts of farmed salmon then consider En Papillot style of cooking it.

    Cheers

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