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. Could not be simpler. You basically put salmon in cold water to cover (salt the water), and then bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit — covered — for about 10 minutes until cooked through. Then chill.
The great news is that this can be made up to a day in advance (in fact it 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.)
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.
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 is going to be a spring and summertime staple.
Poached Salmon with Cilantro Sauce
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
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt or another ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 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 boil. Turn off the heat, and leave the salmon in the covered pot for 10 minutes.
- Remove the fish from liquid and refrigerate until chilled (unless you want to serve it warm or rom 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.
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