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Andrew Zimmern’s Cold Poached Salmon

Andrew Zimmern’s Cold Poached Salmon
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Start with the best Salmon you can find. Ours is Norwegian.

This is a simply wonderful way to cook the perfect salmon

There’s nothing bizarre about Andrew Zimmern’s Poached Salmon

This summer we’ve loved putting dinner party food in the center of the table and truly sharing a meal.  We did exactly that with this fantastic recipe for salmon.  The recipe is from Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre Foods” on the Travel Channel.  But there’s nothing bizarre about this. It’s amazingly appealing. The salmon has a melt-in-your-mouth quality – a subtle flavor from the white wine, onion, and celery broth, a lightness that Zimmern says that is “much more subtle than dry-heat cooking but so much easier.”  Zimmern writes “Boiling Water 101 was a class I taught at a local school in Minnesota. This recipe was one I designed to teach a basic skill but also deliver complex flavors and serve as a touchstone for family meals or entertaining. You really need to practice braising/poaching/blanching as often as you can…Recipes like this will change your outlook on cooking”.  We couldn’t agree more.

What to do with Your Poached Salmon Leftovers

We have to start with the premise that you will have any leftovers.  On the two occasions, we served the dish, one to 8 people, the other to only 6, only the 6 diners yielded any leftovers at all.  As we were deciding on Sunday lunch two days later, we combined the salmon with celery and used the recipe’s dill sauce just as you would use mayonnaise in tuna or chicken salad. The Dill sauce delivered far more flavor than mayo. Its sour cream base with its Dijon mustard, tarragon, and lots of dill elevated our salmon salad to new heights.  A bed of lettuce, some great toasted Tuscan bread, and lunch was served in no time.

Poaching Salmon is a simple recipe to master.

Our Roaster became a fish poacher.

Lacking a fish poacher, we used a roasting pan making sure the salmon would fit and could be submerged in poaching liquid.  Position the empty pan centered over the largest burner on your stovetop.  Combine all the dry and liquid ingredients directly in the pan. Turn the burner on high.  The minute it boils put in the salmon then immediately turn it down to a simmer.  Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook gently. Turn off the heat and rest for 15 minutes. Now the most intimidating part of the recipe: Lifting the fish from pan to platter. Do it with two spatulas. Refrigerate the salmon until cool. Likely the salmon won’t have held its pristine shape. That’s what the lemon slices will cover up. Serve with dill sauce and side salads (See Salad Days https://chewingthefat.us.com/2022/08/salad-days-3-of-the-seasons-best-salads.html) After the recipe, some other poached dishes.

Cold Poached Salmon

August 22, 2022
: 8 to 10
: 15 min
: 30 min
: The hardest part of this recipe is lifting the salmon from poacher to platter

A fantastic way to enjoy the pleasures of Salmon.


  • For the salmon
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • One 3-pound fillet fatty salmon, pin bones removed
  • 6 thin lemon slices, for garnish
  • 12 thin cucumber slices, for garnish
  • For the dill sauce
  • 1⁄4 cup fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup yogurt
  • 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons tarragon
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Step 1 To Prepare the Salmon: In a fish poacher or a pot large enough to hold the salmon, combine the wine, onion, celery, peppercorns, and parsley. Add 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the salmon fillet (it should be fully submerged) and bring the water to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently over low heat until the salmon is just cooked through about 8 to 9 minutes. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Step 2 Using 2 spatulas, carefully transfer the salmon fillet to a large platter. Dab off any white bits and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.
  • Step 3 To Prepare the Dill Sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well.
  • Step 4 Garnish the salmon with the lemon and cucumber slices and serve with the dill sauce

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