Poaching is perfect for when you want to make a sophisticated meal without complicating it.
There are many different ways to poach fish, and in this post, we share our favorites. The simple method requires dipping the fish in a barely boiling liquid over low heat and letting it cook gently while absorbing all kinds of flavor.
How to poach delicious fish every time
Start with the right liquid
. Broth-based poaching
is refreshing and relatively low in calories, while oil- or butter-based poaching produces incredibly tender steaks. Other staples like coconut milk or wine are also great poaching liquids. (Note: Each of the recipes below uses a different poaching liquid.)
Create flavor with aromatic vegetables, herbs and spices.
Sauté the aromatic vegetables in the pan before adding the liquid to add depth. Add herbs, spices, and seasonings like soy sauce and vinegar to your poaching liquid for a further boost in flavor.
Poaching is not the same as boiling.
Make sure you don’t let the liquid boil, as this will make your fish hard. You want to heat your poaching liquid over low heat. Make sure you have enough liquid in your pan to completely cover the fish.
Combine these five poaching liquids and herbs with your favorite type of fish (it’s barramundi, right?). Each will produce enough liquid to poach four 4- to 6-ounce fillets in a 12-inch pot or saucepan.
The Mediterranean Poach” />The Mediterranean Poach Poach
causes tender fish to crumble. Olive oil is a great option, and pairing it with fresh flavors like fennel and citrus reduces the richness of the dish.
Try it at home: heat 3 cups of olive oil over medium heat, then add 1 small bulb of sliced fennel, 6 cloves of crushed garlic, 1/2 bay leaf and 2 strips of orange zest. Add the seasoned fish fillets, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 10 minutes, to cook the fish.
Butter & Wine Poach
A butter poacher is as decadent as it sounds. It’s also a great way to make lean white fish more tender. Wine, garlic, and thyme deepen the flavor, but are subtle enough not to distract from the buttery taste.
Try it at home: heat 14 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup white wine, 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 sprig of thyme in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. When the liquid is almost boiling, add the seasoned fish fillets and cook until opaque, 10 to 15 minutes.
Bouillon Court The
broth is a quick-cooking broth that gets its flavor from wine and aromatics. It’s the perfect way to add a lot of flavor without a ton of calories and works equally well with lean or fatty cuts of fish.
Try it at home: In a large pot, combine 5 cups of water and 1 cup of dry white wine. Add 2 chopped celery stalks, 1 chopped leek, 1 chopped small onion, 1 crushed lemongrass stalk, 1 bay leaf, 6 black peppercorns, and 3 parsley stalks. Simmer for 15 minutes, then strain. Return the strained liquid to the pot or saucepan, add the seasoned fish fillets and simmer for 7-10 minutes.
Coconut milk, onion, garlic, ginger, curry paste and
lime An Asian-inspired poaching is a surefire way out of a fish cooking routine. Coconut milk has a strong flavor, so it is complemented by other strong flavors such as ginger and curry paste. Finish the dish with a splash of lemon juice to liven things up.
Try it at home: Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Sauté 1 small chopped onion, 3 cloves of chopped garlic and 1 teaspoon of grated ginger until fragrant. Add 3 tablespoons of red curry paste and stir. Add 1 can of 13.5-ounce coconut milk, the juice and zest of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of fish sauce (optional) and 1 tablespoon of sambal chili sauce (optional). Simmer for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add seasoned fish fillets. Poach for 7-10 minutes.
Broth, Aromatics, Citrus, Ginger
For a light dinner that’s more than a salad, try poaching a piece of white fish in a leek-ginger-infused broth.
Try it at home: cut into thin slices 3 leeks, then rinse with water until no dirt remains. In a large saucepan, simmer 2 cups chicken broth, leeks, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 4 teaspoons grated lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon grated ginger. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the seasoned fish fillets, cover the saucepan with lid and poach for 10 minutes.
Once you’ve had a few attempts to poach fish, you can start building your own poaching liquids with the ingredients you like or have on hand. You can also cook vegetables on potatoes in the same liquid to complete the meal, just add them a few minutes before the fish, as they take longer to cook.
Want even more variety? Here are some other easy cooking methods to try.