I’ve seriously been having too much fish lately so I’m probably going to die of mercury poisoning but poached salmon is so light and filling, I can’t give it up. I got the idea for this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Light Recipes but 180-ed it as I find their recipe too light with not enough depth. Dill is a perfect, light herb to add to the dish but tarragon and parsley are also acceptable. I do not enjoy the taste of parsley very much (despite loving cilantro) but if the flavor is cooked off, I find the slight bitterness it provides to be an excellent addition.
This dish is perfect for a light summer lunch– the salmon is flaky and moist, the broth is warm and brightly accented with lemony dill and parsley, while the vegetables provide a slight bite. Leeks, which are essentially huge green onions, have a light onion flavor that isn’t as strong as their miniature cousins. If you’ve never used leeks, it is simple. Find light but fresh looking leeks. Cut them in half, lengthwise and wash the layers out as leeks are often full of dirt and grit. Cut off the top, dark leaves and discard them.
Poached Salmon in a Light Herb Broth
3 6-oz salmon fillets, halved length-wise
3 sprigs fresh dill, tarragon, or parsley
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and crushed slightly
2 tsp black peppercorns
6 cups of water
2 tablespoons (low-sodium) soy sauce
3/4 c. dry vermouth
2 medium leeks, washed well, white and light green parts cut into matchsticks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch long matchsticks
1 celery stalk, cut into matchsticks
juice of 1/2 of a small lemon
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill, tarragon, or parsley
~330 cals, 11g fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 14g carbs, 35g protein, 2g fiber, 610mg sodium with each 6oz of salmon
In the cheesecloth, bundle up your sprigs of herbs (I chose a combination of dill and parsley as I had leftovers), garlic cloves, and black peppercorn– a bouquet garni. Tie the packet together with twine (or natural cotton sewing string but preferably twine as this may contain chemicals). Place into a large pot or dutch oven along with the water, leeks, carrots, celery, and about a teaspoon or so of salt. Add soy sauce. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze juice from lemon but be careful not to add too much. Bring to a simmer (small foamy bubbles) and cook, partially covered, until the broth is flavorful– about 20 to 30 minutes. I also added a bit of chicken stock to make this more meaty but this is optional.
While the broth is simmering, pat the salmon dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Gently slip the salmon into the flavorful broth. Cover and cook until the fish just begins to flake– about 6 to 10 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, gently transfer the fish to individual shallow bowls. Discard the bouquet garni. Stir the minced fresh herbs into the broth and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Ladle vegetables onto or around the fish. Ladle hot broth over each serving and serve immediately.