If you prefer wild salmon, you are in luck for a few more weeks. You can find Sockeye and Coho varieties in the fish section of your market. When selecting your salmon, check for a slightly sweet odor and firm flesh. Salmon filets may have tiny "pin" bones that are often buried vertically in the thickest part of the flesh. To remove them, press the meat with your fingers and remove any bones that appear. Tweezers come in handy for this job.
Poaching is one of the simplest ways to prepare salmon. Whether I am serving it chilled or warm, the technique remains the same. Allow 10 minutes per inch of thickness for cooking. If you plan to serve the salmon cold, let it cool in its stock for a few hours. This method keeps the fish very moist and extremely flavorful.
Quick, colorful and bursting with flavor, this silky poached salmon is crowned with a colorful tangle of Provencal flavors. The tomato, fennel, olive and white wine sauce is an assertive complement to the salmon. I like to serve this with steamed baby potatoes and fresh baby green beans. To drink, why not try a New Zealand sauvignon blanc or California viognier? I have also enjoyed this with a crisp dry rose from France or California.
• Serve this chilled. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of vinaigrette to the sauce before serving.
• Cut the salmon into bite-sized pieces. Mix the salmon and sauce with cooked pasta. Add some vinaigrette and chill to serve as a pasta salad.
POACHED SALMON PROVENCALE
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 leek, white and light green part, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound brown (cremini) mushrooms, quartered
- 1 pound medium red and/or yellow tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 2 pounds salmon fillet, or four 1/2 pound pieces, skin and pin bones removed
- 2 cups dry white wine like sauvignon blanc
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley or basil vorite good-quality Marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, for garnish
2. To poach the salmon, put the salmon in a deep skillet just big enough to hold it. Add the wine, then enough water to cover the salmon. Place on medium heat until it begins to simmer. On a low simmer, poach for 10 minutes per inch at the thickest point, usually about 7 to10 minutes, depending how thick the fish is.
3. Just before serving, add the olives, salt and pepper to taste, the basil or parsley and 1/4 cup of the poaching liquid to the reserved sauce. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and reduce the mixture for a minute until slightly thickened. Season to taste.
4. Transfer the fish pieces to a platter or individual serving plates. Blot any excess liquid and spoon the sauce over each piece. Serve immediately.