Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Poached Salmon With Two Sauces And Fingerling Potatoes

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If you are wondering why so many salmon recipes are popping up all of a sudden, the reason is simple: Copper River salmon season is upon us.

This 300-mile-long Alaskan river, which empties into Prince William Sound, is famous for its summer runs of King, Sockeye and Coho salmon. Because of the length and nature of the run, these fish are high in unctuous, delicious, healthy omega-3 oils.

We’re right at the height of the Sockeye salmon season, and the smallish, deep red fillets are in area Whole Foods Markets and Costco, among other outlets. The markets should have plenty for the next two weeks and possibly the next month.  Don't miss this once a year treat and remind yourself that salmon is a seasonal treat.

To me a perfect companion to salmon, whether hot or cold, is fingerling potatoes.  At my friend Sandra Jonas' vegetable garden the crop is just coming in, together with luscious yellow squash and sweet onions. Sandra is the well known garden designer and owner of Recreating Eden Garden Designs.  Her noteworthy landscapes have appeared in  Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, and HGTV.  Stop by her blog and check out her beautiful garden and landscapes.    We are teaming up and linking to each other's blogs as the harvest comes in and I come up with recipes for all to enjoy.  In the next post I will be using some of her sweet onions and making a popular French recipe for an Italian friend.  How's that for networking?

The new crop of fingerling potatoes from Sandra's Garden

Chilled poached salmon with a refreshing horseradish sauce makes a lovely summer lunch dish. When I serve it as part of a buffet, though, I like to serve it with two very distinct sauces, one with heat the other with a little more depth to it.  Roast or steam the fingerling potatoes or prepare them as in the recipe below. They go well with either sauce.

Poached Salmon With Horseradish Sauce
Serves 6 to 8


1 (3-pound) skin-on salmon fillet
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup white wine
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
1/4 cup chopped dill, plus 8 whole sprigs
1 TB prepared horseradish sauce
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
1 cucumber, peeled (1/2 seeded and chopped, 1/2 sliced)


Season salmon with salt and pepper. Put 1 cup water, wine, onions, peppercorns and 4 sprigs of the dill into a roasting pan or fish poacher large enough to hold the fillet. Add the salmon. If not covered by liquid, add just enough water to barely cover the fillet, then gently bring it to a simmer. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes, until salmon is just opaque in the center. (Allow about 10 minutes of cooking time per inch thickness of fish.) Remove from heat and let salmon cool slightly in liquid. Transfer salmon to a large platter and set aside to cool slightly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Meanwhile, make the Horseradish Sauce.

In a bowl, stir in crème fraîche, horseradish, lemon juice, chopped cucumber and chopped dill. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Chill until ready to serve.

Peel skin off salmon once cooled. Garnish platter with remaining 4 dill sprigs and cucumber slices. Serve with horseradish sauce on the side

Tarragon Sauce*

2 large bunches fresh tarragon (about 1 ounce total)
1 large bunch fresh chives (about 2/3 ounce)
1 large shallot
3/4 cup fresh flat-leafed parsley leaves
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Pick enough tarragon leaves to measure 1/2 cup (do not pack). Chop enough chives to measure 1/3 cup. Coarsely chop shallot. In a food processor puree tarragon, chives, and shallot with remaining sauce ingredients until smooth and season with salt and pepper. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring sauce to cool room temperature before serving.

*This sauce is also used in a poached salmon recipe from Epicurious served with the fingerling potato recipe below..

Fingerling Potatoes

Cut potatoes lengthwise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. In a steamer set over boiling water steam potatoes until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon sauce onto 6 plates and arrange some potatoes in a circle, overlapping slightly, on top of sauce . Season potatoes with salt and arrange salmon on top of potatoes. Garnish salmon with peas.

 Photos courtesy of Whole Foods and Sandra Jonas


  1. tuna is one of my favorite it is reach in Omega3 good for the heart,and it promotes cardiovascular healthe.

  2. I love cold, poached salmon as it is both delicious and easy -- a perfect do-ahead dish when entertaining. I want to try both sauces!

  3. I just got some wild salmon last week at Costco and was surprised at how good it was. What a difference from farmed salmon.

    Just stopped by Sandra's blog. If you like gardening her site is a joy!

  4. Thank you so much Julieta for all the great recipes and knowledge you include in each post.
    You have never let me down,I always know I can find something fabulous to 'do' with all the veg. that comes in from the garden. Always delicious!
    Thanks too for highlighting my blog.

  5. Fishing and eating your produce is incomparable. It gets better and better when you have the best recipes to make those fresh ingredients into delicious meals.

  6. Hi there,

    I'm not a seasoned chef but I'm hosting a baby shower for a friend who is and I'd like to prepare you summer lunch menu. (It all sounds delicious). Can I poach the salmon a day in advance? If I use a roasting pan do I set it over two burners on the stove to get the water to boil?

    Thank you!


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