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image description December 10, 2012

Poached Salmon with No-Fail Hollandaise

Poached Salmon with No-Fail Hollandaise
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Ingredient List Print Recipe

For the Salmon:

  • Six 6-ounce, center-cut, skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 rib of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • Salt

For the Hollandaise:

  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1   1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • Salt

A Simple, Elegant Meal

I adore poached salmon. No one poaches fish anymore, but it’s the ultimate feed-a-crowd meal. Plus this recipe provides great leftovers (think salmon salad, salmon cakes, salmon aspic). I was working in France many decades ago and was obsessed with making sauces “the right way.” When I was a stagier at L’Archestrate restaurant in Paris, a line cook made this awesome liaison between egg and butter by whipping the yolks over heat and then adding cool butter. It’s easy, it holds well and it’s a no-fail way to make a low-rent version of hollandaise sauce.

Instructions

Total Time: 30 min
Servings: 6

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Arrange the salmon fillets in a deep skillet in a single layer. Add the wine, celery, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns and enough of the boiling water to fully cover the salmon. Cook over moderate heat at a bare simmer until the salmon is just firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a platter and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

Meanwhile, make the hollandaise. In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks with the water, lemon juice, mustard, chopped tarragon and cayenne until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the butter, whisking constantly until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the sauce is just pourable. Season with salt.

Spoon the hollandaise over the salmon fillets, garnish with tarragon leaves and serve.

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