This poached salmon recipe is a simple instruction for healthy, flavorful salmon fillets.
Trying to eat less fat can sometimes be difficult as there aren’t many options to go with. So today, we’re expanding your fat-free food choices with this saucy, flaky, extra-fragrant poached salmon.
If you’re in a hurry, click here for an instant disclosure of our poached salmon recipe. Or, scroll along and learn more about this dish.
What Is Poached Salmon?
Everyone knows poached eggs, and it’s a really amazing way to cook eggs. We bring a pot of water to a boil, crack in one egg, wait for it to cook, and serve it over avocado toasts.
But poaching takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to other foods.
To poach salmon, we only add around 1 cup of water to a pot, bring it to a boil, and add the salmon fillets in.
Different from boiling, we don’t submerge the fillets, avoiding the risk of taking out all the natural moisture of the fish. It’s also more convenient than steaming, in the sense that a steaming basket is not required.
In this poached salmon recipe, we don’t just add water to the pot, but we add plenty of vegetables and herbs to it. The purpose is to infuse the water with flavors and fragrances, and as the fillets cook, they’ll become extra flavorful.
Is Poached Salmon Healthy?
Poached salmon is a healthy dish, nutrient-wise. Salmon is a good source of proteins and is packed with omega 3, a type of good fat rarely found in nature.
In terms of cooking method, it’s a healthy way to help you consume less fat. If this is not your concern then poaching is not really healthier than frying, searing, or stir-frying.
So if you want more flavorful, healthy salmon dishes, check out our other salmon recipes:
- Pan-fried salmon recipe: flavorful salmon served over a bed of juicy fennel and chickpea salad.
- Salmon meuniere recipe: a fancy take on salmon— salmon with flour coating, butter sauce, and served with tender potatoes.
- Blackened salmon taco recipe: crisp taco filled with grilled salmon, mango and avocado cubes.
Best Seasoning for Salmon
Salmon is really amazing— simply season it with salt and pepper, and it’s already tasty. Today, besides infusing salmon with aromas, we’re also making a basic lemon cream sauce to drizzle over:
1. Lemon Cream Sauce
We start off by reducing the poaching water until it’s only a quarter of a cup. A cream sauce needs a flavorful stock as the base, so we’re using the poaching water instead of chicken stock.
When it’s reduced, remove the veg and herbs, and add milk, cream, lemon juice, garlic, onions, and chopped up tomatoes. It’ll be really creamy, fragrant, and packed with flavors.
If this lemon cream sauce doesn’t seem to suit you, you can try making the classic dill sauce.
2. Dill Sauce
Dill sauce is a combination of sour cream, dill, mustard, milk, lemon juice, and garlic. It’s tangy, creamy, and with a little pungent from the mustard— works every time with salmon.
How to Make Poached Salmon
Here’s an overview of our poached salmon recipe. For the more detailed guide, scroll down to the recipe section.
- Microwave the potatoes;
- Season and mash them;
- Poach the salmon;
- Make the cream sauce;
- Décor and serve!
Since the potatoes and the fish cook separately, you can switch up the steps to save time. For instance, here’s what I would do:
- Place potatoes in the microwave;
- Add water and veggies to a pot and heat it over medium heat;
- By now the potatoes would be done, so I’d season and mash them;
- After mashing the potatoes, the salmon would be cooked so it’s time to make the sauce;
- What’s left to do is décor and serve!
Cooking Salmon from Frozen Salmon
Have frozen salmon fillets in your freezer and want to poach/cook them? Let’s start by thawing them out first (cooking frozen salmon is a big no-no).
If you own a microwave, use the defrosting function and it’ll take around 15 minutes to thaw the fillets.
If you don’t have a microwave, you don’t have to leave them on the countertop to cool gradually either. There is a quicker way, and we’re going to show you.
Wrap your desired amount of fillets in cling wrap, and submerge them in a large bowl. Have your sink tap turned on and leave the bowl under there for about half an hour.
Water transfers heat better than air, so doing this helps to “heat” up the fillet using room-temperature tap water. And by leaving the tap running, we sort of “wash” the coldness away, speeding up the thawing process.
How Long Does Poached Salmon Last?
Cooked salmon (or fish in general) lasts for 4 days in the fridge at max, and up to 2 months in the freezer. Therefore, you can store leftovers in the fridge and have it within the week after a quick reheating.
To store leftovers, it is best to keep everything in a container that’s microwave-friendly or oven safe. Or, place the salmon, mashed potatoes in two different containers/dishes and have them covered with plastic wrap.
If you intend to keep the meal to have it, say, next week, we recommend freezing. Keep the salmon, the sauce, and mashed potatoes in different containers, seal, and freeze away.
To reheat, simply poach the salmon one more time in plain water. For the sauce and potatoes, either microwave them or reheat them in separate skillets.
Since it’s super quick, we recommend you make the mashed potatoes beforehand and have all the ingredients measured and prepped. All there’s left to do is poach the salmon and make the sauce, which only takes around 10 minutes in total.
What to Serve with Poached Salmon
We often pair our dishes with sides that have a different texture and flavors so the meal gives a variety of mouthfeels.
1. Mashed potatoes
It’s clear as day that the salmon needs some healthy carbs as it’s already packed with proteins and healthy fats. So in between bites, it’d be very comforting to have something creamy, buttery.
2. Watermelon arugula salad
To cut the richness, there’s nothing better than a tangy, fresh salad. We especially like this one because it has juicy watermelon cubes and fragrant arugula dressed in lemon dressing.
3. Orange juice
To end the meal, simply have a classic orange juice. It’s quick, nutritious, delicious, and super simple to make.
Poached Salmon Recipe
- 24 oz potato peeled and quartered
- 1/2 tsp salt divided in half
- 1/2 tsp pepper divided in half
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 2 oz celery whole or cut into chunks
- 2 oz carrots peeled and cut into sticks
- 2 oz onions peeled and cut in half
- 2 bay leaves
- 0.25 oz dill whole
- 28 oz skinless boneless salmon 4 fillets
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 oz tomato diced
- 2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
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- Microwave the potatoes: add the quartered potatoes into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. You can place a larger dish on top of the bowl to save the wrap for other uses. Place it into the microwave and cook for 7 minutes.
- Season and mash the potatoes: remove the plastic wrap/ dish and add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 2 tbsp butter. Use a fork to mash the potatoes and mix it well.
- Poach the salmon: in a pot add 1 cup water, 2 oz whole celery, 2 oz whole carrots, 2 oz diced onions, 2 bay leaves, 0.25 oz dill, 1/4 tsp salt to a pot and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and add the fillets in. Put on the lid and simmer the fillets for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, carefully take out the fillets and put it aside.
- Make the cream sauce: remove the herbs and vegetables from the pot and reduce the infused stock to about 1/4 cup. Add 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup whole milk, 2 tsp lemon juice, diced tomatoes, 1 tsp parsley and cook for 2 minutes over medium heat. Simmer some more if you want a thicker sauce.
- Décor and serve: divide mashed potatoes into portions. Scoop one out and place it onto a serving platter. Flatten the surface, then place one fillet on top. Sprinkle with parsley and a dash of black pepper if desired. Place a lemon wedge and a sprig of parsley onto the platter to décor and serve.
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