Poaching is an amazing way to cook salmon! This moist heat method is easy and healthy since you don’t need to use any heavy oils or butter. All you need is the right simmering liquid, a low heat temperature, and salmon fillets. For those looking for a clean cooking process and a light, comforting meal, poaching is the obvious choice. Plus, the poached fillets look extra fancy on the plate. Which makes them the perfect meal for a fancy dinner with guests! But it’s also super tasty for a cozy night by yourself or a busy family weeknight dinner. Talk about versatility!
Now that you know why you should try poaching your next salmon fillets, we're here to guide you through it. The process is quick and easy, it only takes 15 minutes! Today’s post is a step-by-step guide on cooking the best-poached salmon out there. Keep reading to learn all about our tips and tricks on how to poach salmon!
How To Poach Salmon
Pick the right part of the salmon.
You’ll want to use salmon fillets when poaching the fish. The perfect size for a light yet filling individual portion is about 5 ½ ounces. If you keep the portions around this size, you’ll find the fish poaches properly while retaining the most delicious flavor.
Remove the skin before poaching (optional).
This is more of a personal choice. However, the salmon fillets will poach better if you remove the skin before submerging them into the water. If you leave the skin on, it won’t crisp the way it would when pan-frying or baking the fish. So it’s more convenient to just remove it from the get-go. If you want to know more on how to fillet a salmon? Then check out this article.
Pick the right type and amount of poaching liquid.
You'll need between 220/260 ml of poaching liquid per salmon fillet. It’s about a liter of liquid if you’re poaching four fillets at a time. The most popular combination is white wine and vinegar. It’s seriously delicious! If you don’t feel like adding alcohol to your meal, just switch it out for water. There’s always the option of using vegetable stock for a more complex and strong flavor. But the poached salmon is really tasty by itself. So don’t feel pressured to add much complexity to the meal unless you prefer it!
Include spices and aromatic herbs (optional).
So this step is 100% optional. But let me introduce to you a couple of the best spice and aromatics combinations for poaching salmon! The idea is to use fresher flavors when your poaching liquid is white wine or vinegar. This includes herbs like rosemary, basil, parsley, and dill with a splash of lemon juice. Yet if you’re using vegetable stock you can pick bolder flavors to accompany it! A few of our favorites are cumin, paprika, curry, and coriander. For an Asian-inspired meal, soy sauce, mirin, and ginger are a delicious combination.
Prepare the liquid, plus the aromatics and spices.
Now it’s time to prepare the poaching liquid! Simmer the liquid alongside the spices or aromatics before adding the salmon fillets to the mix. Just add them to a pan, cover them with the lid, and leave to simmer for 5 minutes. They should settle quickly! This ensures each individual flavor gets infused into your poaching liquid, to later be absorbed by the salmon fillets. That’s how you guarantee yourself the tastiest poached salmon in town! When using a whole fish, feel free to skip this step.
Add the salmon fillets to the poaching liquid to cook the fish.
The poaching liquid and the spices should be in a large skillet. That’s where you’ll add the salmon fillets. Just immerse them into the liquid and cover them with the lid. Make sure to keep the temperature below boiling at all times to allow the fish to poach properly.
Time to poach your salmon.
Here’s when the method differs whether you are using the stove or the oven to poach the salmon. For stovetop poaching, cook the salmon fillets for 8 to 10 minutes. If you’re using the oven instead, preheat it at 390 degrees and poach the fish for just about 15 minutes.
Remove the salmon fillets from the heat and serve.
Once the salmon fillets are fully cooked, all that’s left to do is remove them from the water. Be careful not to break apart the fish while plating, though. It’ll be extra tender and flakey! If you need inspiration for healthy side dishes for salmon, be sure to check out this post too!
Do you like poached salmon?
So that’s really all there is to it to poach salmon! It doesn’t take too long and it’s not hard at all! We hope you got all the info you need to feel confident in the kitchen to start poaching your salmon fillets right away! This cooking method is perfect for a quick healthy dinner or a family feast. It’s definitely worth a try! If you want to look for more ways to cook salmon at home, check out this article. Now go poach some salmon fillets!