Poaching fish has always been a cooking method that has intrigued me but at the same time seemed scary. While looking for autoimmune paleo recipes, I came across The Paleo Mom's Lemon Dill Poached Salmon. After having great success with her Pad Thai, I decided it was time to tackle poaching.
I gathered my ingredients. This recipe appealed to me as it required minimal preparation and it only used one pot.
My salmon had some pin bones that needed to be removed, so I did that before heating the poaching liquid. Paleo Mom says to use a large skillet. At first I thought I'd use my 12" skillet, but decided against it as there is only 1/3 cup of poaching liquid (water) used. I decided to use my 10" saute pan. My only problem then was that I don't have a lid for that pan. I used my 12 inch lid on the 10 inch pan. One of these days, I'll get a lid for that pan.
I think I was so excited about the ease of this dish, that I forgot to take some pictures of my preparation. Sorry. I prepared my poaching liquid per the recipe instructions and added the salmon. I brought the pan to a boil and then down to a simmer.
I added the lid to the pan and set a timer for 12 minutes. The recipe gives a cooking range of 12-15 minutes. It doesn't say to check on the pan regularly and I thought I was safe since I chose the low end of the cooking time range. I didn't check my pan and went about prepping a side vegetable while the fish poached away.
When the timer went off, this is what I had. All of the poaching liquid had evaporated. Eeek.
Here is my plate.
Accessibility & Cost of Ingredients: I found my wild caught coho salmon on sale for $8.99/lb. Yay! I could not find fresh dill and after going to two grocery stores, I decided dried would have to do.
Preparation & Cooking Time: My salmon had pin bones that needed to be removed. My total preparation time including pin bone removal was about 5 minutes. I poached the fish for 12 minutes.
Clean Up: Clean up is super simple for this dish as you're only using the one pan.
The Paleo Review: Meh. When I removed the liquid I was dismayed that all the poaching liquid had evaporated. I'm not certain if that was supposed to happen or not. It's not entirely shocking as there was only 1/3 of a cup to begin with.
The fish had almost no flavor and it was a bit dry. The skin, while the only part of the fish covered in flavorful dill, was soft and so I didn't eat it -I only like the skin if its crispy. The salmon wasn't so bad that I wouldn't eat it, but I know I can make better salmon. It improved a bit with a lot of lemon juice.
There were many variables that could have influenced how this fish turned out that have nothing to do with the recipe flavoring-wise.
1. The Pan: Should I have used the 12" skillet with better fitting lid? Would an even smaller saute pan have done a better job?
2. The amount of poaching liquid: Should I have used more liquid than the recipe requires?
3. Pot monitoring/Cooking Time: Should I do everything the same but check on the pan more? Everybody's stove is different so perhaps just do everything the same but check the salmon at 8-9 minutes? Was my simmer too high?
4. Seasoning: Should I take better care to make sure that all of the fish has been bathed in the poaching liquid?
Probably a mix of changes to those variables would have made my attempt at this salmon better and I'm not faulting Paleo Mom's recipe in my result. In fact, I'm going to tweet to her to see if she has any pointers. I'll try poaching again one day. Do you have any favorite poached fish recipes?