Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette

I am a little shocked by my posting a salmon recipe. Why? Well, I have never enjoyed fish or shellfish, but I have been trying to change my palette, and I had heard if you keep introducing certain foods to your diet, you would eventually enjoy the food you have introduced. This worked for me with dark chocolate, so I decided to try it with fish (a little more difficult than chocolate, I’ll admit).

I was at a hotel for a two-day conference where they served salmon for lunch the first day and chicken for lunch the second day. Amazingly, I enjoyed the salmon more than the chicken. The salmon was silky, delicate and delicious. But, I still wasn’t convinced enough to try cooking salmon myself. That was before I bought the 2009 America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook. I really like recipes from Cook’s Illustrated and America’s Test Kitchen. They pay close attention to detail, so I felt confident to try their poached salmon recipe.

I found a beautiful piece of salmon at the store, so I forged on. I did make a yummy dessert so I would have dessert to look forward to if I didn’t like the salmon. I know, what's the point of eating healthy if I was just going to eat cake for dessert? Well, I wasn’t going to cook the salmon otherwise. I didn't need to worry, the salmon turned out perfectly. It was moist, delicious, and my whole family enjoyed the salmon.

American’s Test Kitchen
recommends more of a steaming method than an actual poaching, and the salmon cooks quickly, so you could easily make this on a weeknight.

Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette
2 lemons
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves, stems reserved
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves, stems reserved
2 small shallots, minced (about 4 tablespoons)
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup water
1 skinless salmon fillet (1 ¾ to 2 pounds), about 1 ½ inches at the thickest part, remove the white membrane, and cut fillet crosswise into 4 equal parts
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper

Cut the bottom and the top off of one lemon, and cut the lemon into 8 to 10 ¼ inch slices. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges and set aside. Arrange the lemon slices in a single layer across the bottom of a 12-inch skillet. Scatter the herb stems and 2 tablespoons of the minced shallots evenly over the lemon slices, and add the water and wine.

Place the salmon fillets in the skillet, skinned side down on top of the lemon slices, and set the pan over high heat and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the sides of the salmon are opaque but the center of the thickest part is still translucent, 11 to 16 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the salmon and lemon slices to a paper towel lined plate, and cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Return the pan to high heat and simmer the cooking liquid until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 2 tablespoons minced shallots, chopped herbs, capers, honey and olive oil in a medium bowl. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl with the herb mixture. Press the solids to extract all of the liquid. Whisk to combines and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly salt and pepper the salmon, and remove the lemon slices from the bottom of the salmon. Place the salmon on a serving platter or individual plates and spoon the vinaigrette over the top. Place the lemon wedges on the platter or plates, and serve. Serves 4


  1. Can't tell you how glad we are to hear that you are expanding your palate to include "fish" - what's next? Maybe a nice rack of lamb or garlic/mint roasted leg of lamb or even Uncle Charles' butterflied leg of lamb on the grill? Yum !

    xoxo Dad and Lynn

  2. I know...Next you might see a recipe for brussel sprouts!



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