Slow cooking yields moist, tender salmon

DINNER TONIGHT

May 10, 2006|By CAROL MIGHTON HADDIX | CAROL MIGHTON HADDIX,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

Poaching fish in liquid is an age-old method that ensures moist, tender results. But chefs of late have been experimenting with poaching seafood in olive oil, claiming you get the same moist results but with the boost of flavor that comes from the oil.

We tried the method with a salmon fillet. The key is low heat and slow cooking. The fillet came out moist throughout with an almost but not quite flaky texture.

Any type of sturdy fish fillets or steaks may be cooked with this simple method. Serve with a horseradish sauce to drizzle over the fish and potatoes.

Carol Mighton Haddix is food editor of the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe and analysis.

Olive Oil-Poached Fish With Chunky Mashed Potatoes

Serves 4

4 fish fillets, such as salmon, halibut or sea bass, about 1 pound

about 2 cups olive oil or chicken broth, if you prefer

3 sprigs thyme

1 clove garlic, halved

1 teaspoon salt (divided use)

freshly ground pepper

4 large red potatoes, peeled, cut in chunks

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

prepared horseradish sauce

chopped thyme or other herbs, such as tarragon, cilantro or mint

Place fish in a Dutch oven in a single layer; pour oil over fish just to cover. Add thyme and garlic. Heat over medium heat to a low simmer. Reduce heat to low. Gently poach fish until just cooked through, about 20 minutes. Remove with slotted spatula to a platter. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste; keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat medium saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes; cook until tender, 15 minutes. Drain; mash coarsely.

Mash in butter until melted. Stir in milk until almost smooth. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper to taste. Divide potatoes among 4 plates. Top with fish. Drizzle horseradish sauce over fish. Garnish with thyme or other herbs.

Per serving: 626 calories, 28 grams fat, 7 grams saturated fat, 89 milligrams cholesterol, 61 grams carbohydrate, 32 grams protein, 709 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber

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