Have I told you all how much I love Cook’s Illustrated? Their recipes are so well tested and informative, I’m endlessly inspired to try something new in each and every magazine I receive. Last week, I decided to try their method for poaching salmon, as I love getting salmon in a restaurant, but I’ve been more than a little scared of dealing with fish in my own kitchen. Now, calling this “poaching” is slightly misleading, as you aren’t submerging the fillet in water, but rather raise up the fish on some slices of lemon and a thin layer of water and wine to allow the fish to cook in a flavorful steam.
In my own spin on the recipe using what was in my kitchen, I fully replaced their sauce with a slight variation on the filling I used for my Smoked Salmon Pinwheel Bites. So just pull the leftover filling out of the fridge, stir in a little sour cream, maybe even put it in the microwave for 10 seconds, and you have a ready made creamy, indulgent counterpoint to your healthy steamed fish.
I first tried this fish dish for a small dinner party of friends, and I was amazed at how simple it was. Usually when I try a new recipe I have to abide by the rule of adding an hour of recipe reading and obsessing onto the normal cooking time, but this one was incredibly simple. If you are looking for a simple, stunning meal as a surprise for your Valentine, look no further. Simply add some roasted asparagus, and perhaps a baked potato, and you’re done!
I found that poached salmon is the best with fresh fish purchased that day, as you want the salmon flavor to be the star.
Prepare the salmon by cutting the fillet into 4 long fillets.
Slice the one and a half lemons into even slices (about 1/4 inch thick). Reserve the final lemon half for juice either over everything, or to use in your sauce.
Layer the lemon slices across the bottom of a large skillet (that has a lid).
Scatter the garlic slices and dill stems and fronds over the bottom of the pan, and then add the wine and water to the pan.
Place the salmon fillets on top of the lemon slices with the skin side down.
Heat the pan uncovered over high heat until the liquid begins to simmer, then cover the skillet and reduce the heat, allowing the steam to cook the salmon until opaque and the inside of the salmon is at least 125 degrees Fahrenheit. This will probably take about 15 minutes, but I start checking the thickest fillet after 10 minutes to avoid overcooking them.
While the salmon is cooking, you can create your sauce by pureeing all your sauce ingredients together. If your sauce is too thick, you can add more lemon juice and sour cream or microwave it for 10 seconds to make it more pourable.
Remove the salmon fillets from the pan once they are done, and gently remove the skin from the bottom of the fillet with a large, thin spatula.
Plate them on top of your veggie or starch of choice, and cover with your sauce.
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