August 8, 2013

Poached Wild Salmon

Fresh wild salmon has been widely available for the past couple of months. It has been one of the things I have really enjoyed since I reintroduced fish and poultry into my diet. One of my favorite ways to prepare wild salmon during the summer is by poaching it. It must be made ahead and served cold which makes it an optimal dish to serve for lunch or dinner guests. It also happens to be my one of my favorite picnic dishes to bring to the Hollywood Bowl here in Los Angeles during the summer.

Of course there are opposing views in regard to the potential health benefits of eating wild salmon. The vegan perspective would be that it is just a source of bad fats and heavy metals. They would say that the high content of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in fish such as wild salmon come from the sea vegetables that the fish eats and what we actually get from consuming such fish is plain old dietary fat. That being said wild salmon is also touted as a superfood by many reliable sources. The positive perspective on the potential health benefits of wild salmon would be that it is an excellent source of protein, potassium, selenium,  and vitamin B12. It has also shown to be beneficial for protecting against heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and many forms of cancer.

Serve with Plum and Edamame Salad or Mustard Dill Sauce. Shown in pictures below at the Hollywood Bowl served with Beets with Fresh Mint, Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables, Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, and Flageolet Beans with Lucques Olives. It is the perfect make ahead meal for a hot Summer day.

Perfect Poached Wild Salmon

Serves 4

For all ingredients, please consider using those that are grown organically.

1 1/2 pounds fresh wild salmon with skin intact
about 4-5 cups purified water
1 onion, sliced
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/3 cup white wine
8 black peppercorns
1-2 teaspoons sea salt

Mustard Dill Sauce

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons Veganaise or mayonnaise (Greek yogurt would also work, but the result will be more tangy)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1-2 tablespoons fresh dill
1 teaspoon champagne or white wine vinegar
  sea salt
  freshly ground black pepper

Fill water about half way to the top of a large (about 12 inches) straight sided saute pan.

Set the pan over medium-high heat and add the onion, carrots, celery, wine, peppercorns, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and allow ingredients to cook for 10-20 minutes. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful it will be for the poaching.

While the broth is simmering, prepare the salmon for poaching. It is best to use needle nose pliers or an old tweezer to remove the bones from the fillet.

Lay the fish onto a flat surface. Use you fingers to locate the row of bones. Generally, they run in a straight line along the fattest portion of the fillet about 1/2-3/4 inch apart from one another.

Use your tweezer or pliers to grab and pull the bones from the fish. Try to remove them from the fish at the same direction that they are angled. It will not only be easier to do this way, but will keep the fish looking nicer as well.

The fish can be left in one large piece for poaching or cut into pieces. If you opt to cut the fish before poaching, use a sharp knife and do your best to make them even in size.

The bouillon should already be simmering on low heat. If it is not, please make sure that it is before you cook the fish.

Gently lay the fish into the simmering liquid. It should not be completely covered with the poaching liquid. You may use a large spoon to baste the tops of the fillets if desired.

Allow the fish to simmer in the poaching liquid for about 8-15 minutes. The poaching time will depend on the size of the fillets or if you have not cut a large piece of fish.

Remove the fish from the poaching liquid and allow to cool completely covered in the refrigerator.

When you are ready to serve the fish, use a knife to carefully remove the skin from the underside of the fillets. It should slide right off without problem. Serve the fish with edamame salad, mustard dill sauce, or just fresh lemon slices and dill. Any fresh salads or grain dishes are great accompaniments to this dish.

If I am taking the salmon for a picnic, I will lay it on aluminum foil lined in plastic wrap on a bed of fresh dill and sliced lemons. Wrap the plastic and foil package tightly around the fish and keep it flat over ice cooler blocks until ready to serve. Freezing a bottle of water is also a great thing to do for a picnic on a hot day or evening. Not only will it keep your food cold, but will be refreshing to drink as it begins thaw.


Mustard Dill Sauce

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and season to taste. Add more dill, lemon juice, or mayonnaise if necessary to balance the fat and acid.

Hollywood Bowl Picnic DinnerHollywood Bowl Picnic Dinner

Categories: Fish and Seafood

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