This may just be my new favorite way of preparing salmon. It involves relatively little work, and the resulting salmon is tender and juicy. As a bonus, you even get asparagus with your salmon! The only slightly tricky part is the Hollandaise sauce, but once you’ve got the method down it’s not much harder than making a smoothie.
I have two tricks to getting perfect poached salmon every time. The first is to use vegetable stock and wine instead of water this infuses the salmon with loads of flavor. The second trick is to add the salmon and return the stock to a boil before turning the heat off. By cooking the salmon with residual heat, you’re much less likely to overcook it.
I mentioned earlier that you get asparagus as a bonus with this salmon, and that’s because I poach the two together. The poaching does dull the color of the asparagus, but I feel like this is a relatively small price to pay for the amazing flavor the broth imparts.
I like to use melted butter, an immersion blender, and boiling water to make Hollandaise sauce. This makes it a bit easier and a bit more fool-proof than most versions, but alas Hollandaise sauce is still a delicate emulsion, so you need to take care to follow the directions precisely; otherwise, your sauce may break. If you want a hollandaise sauce that’s almost impossible to mess up, which can also be made ahead and reheated, check out my stabilized Hollandaise Sauce.
I didn’t do it this time, but I also sometimes like to poach an egg and serve it with the salmon and asparagus. It’s like a low carb version of Eggs Benedict, making it the perfect entree for a weekend brunch, along with a light salad.
Poached Salmon with Chervil Hollandaise
This method for poached salmon involves relatively little work, and the resulting fish is tender and juicy. As a bonus, you even get asparagus on the side! (Recipe Credit: Marc Matsumoto of Fresh Tastes.)
- 8 stalks asparagus
- 85 grams butter (6 tablespoons)
- 3 egg yolks (pasteurized)
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chopped chervil
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 620 grams salmon fillets (4 small fillets)
- Peel the bottom part of the asparagus and then trim the cut end. Cut the stalks in half.
- To make the hollandaise sauce, In a microwave-safe bowl, add the butter and heat in the microwave on low power until there are no longer mounds of butter,
- Add the egg yolks to the butter and use an immersion blender to emulsify the mixture until it's all a uniform color.
- With the blender running, slowly pour the boiling water into the egg yolk mixture.
- Add the lemon juice and salt and blend to combine.
- Stir in the chervil by hand and keep the hollandaise sauce warm in a double boiler set over warm water. Don't heat the hollandaise or it will cook and get lumpy. If this happens, you might be able to save it by whisking in a bit of water.
- In a pan that's just big enough to hold the salmon and asparagus in a single layer, bring the white wine to a full boil and continue to boil until it no longer smells like alcohol. Add the vegetable stock and salt and bring to a boil. Make sure there enough liquid in the pan to cover the salmon, if there is not, add more stock or water and return to a boil.
- Add the salmon fillets and asparagus, return to a boil, and then cover the pan and turn off the heat. The salmon is done when it flakes easily (about 7-10 minutes). Transfer the salmon and asparagus to a plate lined with several sheets of paper towels to remove any excess water.
- Plate the asparagus and salmon and drizzle with the warm hollandaise sauce. Garnish with chervil.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.