Poached Salmon with Herb and Caper Vinaigrette

To ensure even-sized pieces of fish, we prefer to buy a whole center-cut fillet and cut it into four pieces. If a skinless whole fillet is unavailable, follow the steps in your student handout and skin a fillet yourself This recipe will yield salmon fillets cooked to medium. If you prefer rare salmon (translucent in the center), reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes, or until the salmon registers 110 degrees in the thickest part.

Photo: Holland America Line
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • leaves, stems reserved
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • leaves, stems reserved
  • 2 small shallots, minced (4 tablespoons)
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 skinless salmon fillet (1'/4 to 2 pounds),
  • about 11/2 inches at thickest part, white
  • membrane removed, fillet cut crosswise
  • into 4 equal pieces
  • 2 tablespoons capers,
  • rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


Preparation

Cut top and bottom off 1 lemon; cut into 8 to ten 1,4-inch-thick slices. Cut remaining lemon into 8 wedges and set aside. Arrange lemon slices in single layer across bottom of 12-inch skillet. Scatter herb stems and 2 tablespoons minced shallots evenly over lemon slices. Add wine and water.

Place salmon fillets in skillet, skinned-side down, on top of lemon slices. Set pan over high heat and bring liquid to simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until sides are opaque but center of thickest part is still translucent or registers 125 degrees, 11 to 16 minutes. Remove pan from heat and, using spatula, carefully transfer salmon and lemon slices to paper towel-lined plate and tent loosely with foil.

Return pan to high heat and simmer cooking liquid until slightly thickened and reduced to 2 tablespoons, 4 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine remaining 2 tablespoons shallots, chopped herbs, capers, honey, and oil in medium bowl. Strain reduced cooking liquid through fine-mesh strainer into bowl with herb-caper mixture, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Whisk to combine; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season salmon lightly with salt and pepper. Using spatula, carefully lift and tilt salmon fillets to remove lemon slices. Place salmon on serving platter or individual plates and spoon vinaigrette over top.

Serve, passing reserved lemon wedges separately.

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