Cooking Adventures: Poached Salmon

Poached salmon over rice

I always feel like I have to begin any post about cooking with a disclaimer. I am not really a cook. This is bachelor style cooking at best.

I got the idea for poached salmon from a friend of mine, who swears it’s the only and best way to cook it. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to try it off the cuff, so I looked up a recipe for it that closely resembled what he told me. Found one on Simply Recipes. It seemed simple enough… So I started getting things I needed. I decided to get a new pan that would be a little deeper than the one I usually fry stuff in. The one I picked up was also a bit thicker. Inadvertently, I bought one that was the same diameter than the pan from my old Ikea set which would save my ass later.

I don’t usually have any ingredients lying around, so on to the grocery store. First I got parsley and dill via the small condiment bottles. Then I took another look at the recipe again, remember someone telling me a long time ago that fresh ingredients are always better, and actually got fresh dill and parsley. Of course they had two kinds of parsley… that already irks me. Simple (italian) or curly? Simple sounded more the standard version. Although I had a couple of frozen salmon fillets, the ones that come pre-packaged and with the skin off, I decided that I wanted it fresh too and got a thick one.

On the wine I also did a double take, first grabbing some boxed tabled wine from the grocery store and then getting a proper one. I found an australian Sauvignon Blanc at the SAQ (the wine stores in the Quebec province of Canada) that had these small bottles for sale. Going back, I should’ve picked the  full bottle. I liked this recipe a lot.

First thing I did was look up how to cut a shallot. I thought I could figure it out, but I don’t do these things every day and I’m glad I did. Then as I read the recipe again I realized that after throwing the cup of water and wine in the pan and adding the shallot I had to add “several sprigs of fresh dill”. How many is several… what the heck is a sprig. I had to look up sprig (I could have named this post Cooking With Google) and settled on taking the leaves from about three sprigs (which I took as the branch) as several. I didn’t throw in the stems – didn’t seem proper. Same with the parsley.

Salmon on simmering liquid

Then on to “simmering”, which I had to look up, believe it or not. It is defined as “just before boiling” but the best definition was “slowly bubbling”. Basically you can see all the bubbles form at the bottom and they slowly come up rather than rush. I then put in my salmon fillet, skin facing down. It was very thick – it would not be completely drowned but I decided to go for it anyways. Then cover the pan… wait, this means I had to get a pan with a cover? It’s here that I found out that my new pan and my old pan have the same diameter and I could reuse the lid. Crisis averted. Five minutes and the salmon looked gorgeous.

I should’ve started the rice a lot earlier. It was cooking on my rice cooker and I know it takes 30 to 40 minutes to be ready. So I just took the pan off to a cool grill and hoped that it wouldn’t be overdone while the rice was finished. Reviewing, I should’ve started the rice earlier, thrown the veggies with the fish instead of the rice and not used the dehydrated chicken broth on the rice. It was ok, but I already had all the liquid that came from poaching the salmon to flavour it anyways.

It was the best salmon I ever tasted. I could just cut it with the fork with no effort, it just was that soft. Of course I might be biased here, but I can’t wait to do this recipe again. And in the end, it was pretty easy. I still have half of it left to take to work, but I suspect it’s not going to be as good reheated – although it should still be worth it. Best of all, I have plenty of ingredients left for a second run. Very happy at managing to cook this. Of all the things I’ve learned to cook so far, this one felt like an achievement akin to defeating a level boss.

That will do for now.

  1. #1 by Cheap Ethnic Eatz (@cethniceatz) on October 16, 2012 - 1:07 pm

    Oh, my bachelor cooking friend is growing up, learned the meaning of simmering. Glad it was a such a success

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