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Poaching salmon fillets is the easiest way I know to get moist, tender fish to serve up with the sauce of your choice or to flake into a salmon salad.  And guess what? The method is EXACTLY like the one you can use to hard-cook eggs. Itculd not be simpler.

Poached Salmon topped with Cilantro Sauce on a plate.

You basically put salmon in cold water to cover (salt the water), and then bring it to a boil, turn off the heat, and let sit — covered — for about 10 minutes until cooked through. A few minutes longer if your filet is thicker than an inch.

Then remove the fish from the liquid and refrigerate until chilled (unless you want to serve it warm or at room temperature, in which case cool it to the temperature you want). If there is skin on the fillets, peel it off.

Salmon in a skillet of water on a stovetop.

Poached Salmon with Cilantro Sauce: An extremely easy, foolproof method for poaching salmon, paired with a pretty, creamy herby sauce.

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Making Poached Salmon in Advance

The great news is that this can be made up to a day in advance, both the sauce and the fish. In fact, the salmon has to be made several hours in advance if you do want to serve it chilled, though room temperature or warm poached salmon is also lovely.

Poached Salmon with Cilantro Sauce on a plate with spinach and potatoes.

Cilantro Sauce

If you are a cilantro fan, this sauce may become a little addiction for you. It’s lovely on roasted vegetables, all kinds of fish and pork and chicken dishes. It also makes a nice dip for crudites (raw veggies).

Having been a small child in the era of The Preppy Handbook (which my dad actually published), the combo of pink and green gets certain synapses firing. I wasn’t preppy myself —  I was too young for the heart of the era. But I definitely internalized that the classic color combo of choice was pink and green, and I had an uncle with whale pants to prove it.

Potatoes, spinach, and Poached Salmon with Cilantro Sauce on a white plate.

Sauces for Poached Salmon

Other sauces that would be great with poached salmon: Ramp Chimichurri Sauce, slightly spicy Sriracha Sauce, creamy Horseradish Sauce, vibrant Mint Basil Pesto or Spinach Parsley Pesto, carroty gingerly Japanese Restaurant Salad Dressing.

This is going to be a spring and summertime staple. I’ll plan to make it with BLT Pasta Salad. And if you are looking for more salmon recipes, I definitely got you covered!

Cilantro Sauce pouring over poached salmon.

More Salmon Recipes

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Poached Salmon with Cilantro Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Chilling Time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6 People
An extremely easy, foolproof method for poaching salmon, paired with a pretty, creamy herby sauce.

Ingredients 

For the Salmon

  • 2 pounds salmon filet (with or without skin)
  • 1 tablespoon coarse or kosher salt

For the Cilantro Sauce

  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt (or another 1/4 cup mayonnaise)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • Pinch cayenne pepper

Instructions 

  • Put the salmon in a large pot (you can cut salmon in two pieces for a big round pot), cover with cold water, add 2 teaspoons of salt, and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, and leave the salmon in the covered pot for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the fish from the liquid and refrigerate until chilled (unless you want to serve it warm or at room temperature, in which case cool it until it is the temperature you want). If there was skin on the fillets, peel it off.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, combine the cilantro leaves, shallots, and Dijon. Puree, add the mayonnaise and yogurt, if using, cream, salt, pepper, and cayenne and puree. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  • Serve the chilled fish with the sauce on the side.

Notes

The great news is that this can be made up to a day in advance, both the sauce and the fish. In fact, the salmon has to be made several hours in advance if you do want to serve it chilled, though room temperature or warm poached salmon is also lovely.

Nutrition

Calories: 365kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 31g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 98mg, Sodium: 1363mg, Potassium: 767mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 326IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Comments

  1. Made my whole meal like you pic! Everything was delicious and successful!
    I can use this sauce on tacos too! Thank you it’s great!

  2. Hi, Katie,
    The cilantro porch salmon sauce is very delicious, I give it 10/10 . Perfect! I did it n everyone loves it
    Thank you n God bless you.

    Mabel

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