Recipe: Poached Salmon with Cream Sauce

Poached Salmon in Cream Sauce., courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Poached Salmon in Cream Sauce with risotto on the side, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

Poaching is a method of moist-heat cooking involving submerging foods in a liquid, such as water, milk, stock or wine. It differs from simmering and boiling in that it uses a relatively low temperature (about 160–180 °F), making it particularly suitable for delicate food, such as eggs, poultry, fish and fruit.  In a recent lab in my Culinary Arts I class, I had the opportunity to poach salmon for the first time. I am glad that I did, because this cooking method is easier than I thought and it imparts a rich, full flavor from the poaching liquid into the food.  For this recipe, I have also included directions on how to use the strained poaching liquid to create a simple cream sauce to pour over the poached salmon after plating.


2 oz. butter
2 oz. shallots, medium diced
2 oz. carrots, julienne
1 stalk rosemary, whole
1 bay leaf, whole
6 oz. salmon steak
salt and pepper to taste
12 oz. fish stock, seasoned with salt and pepper
1/4 cup white wine
2 Tbsp. heavy cream or whole butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 oz. parsley


  1. Lightly butter shallow sauté pan with 2 oz. butter and place over low-medium heat.
  2. Add shallots, carrots, rosemary, bay leaf and let gently simmer (do not let boil).
  3. Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Place the salmon on top of the aromatics.
  5. Gently pour the seasoned stock in the pan, around (not over) the salmon.
  6. Bring liquid to a simmer, but do not allow it to boil. Reduce heat if needed.
  7. Lightly cover pan and let simmer on stove top for about 15 minutes, or until salmon is flaky and opaque/slightly pink all over.
Poaching Salmon, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Poaching Salmon – just before covering, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

8.   Remove cooked salmon from pan and hold to keep warm
9.   Strain the poaching liquid and return strained liquid back to pan. Set aside strained items for   later use or discard/compost.
10.  Over low/medium heat, deglaze pan with strained poaching liquid and let poaching liquid reduce by half over low heat, stirring frequently.

Poaching Liquid Ready for Cream, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog
Strained poaching liquid reducing by half, before adding wine, courtesy: Food Mingle Blog

11.  Add wine and continue to reduce while gently stirring, until sauce thickens.
12.  Remove pan from heat. This is important because if you go to the next step (adding cream) while the pan is still on the heat, the sauce will separate.
13.  Slowly add heavy cream, whisking briskly while pan is off the heat. Continue whisking until cream is well incorporated into sauce
14.  Place salmon on warm plate and squeeze lemon juice over it
15.  Gently pour sauce over salmon
16.  Garnish with parsley.

Food Mingle Blog Alternatives and Substitutions:

  • You may substitute chicken or vegetable stock for the fish stock, but note that the overall flavor may not be as rich.
  • Dill might be a nice addition to this dish, either as an aromatic in the poaching liquid (before straining) or as a garnish on the plate.

Yield:  1 serving

Source: Culinary Arts 1: Fundamentals of Food Preparation – Lab Manual,” Monroe Community College, Department of Hospitality Management, Chef Gerald Brinkman, M.S.Ed., Assistant Professor and Michelle M. Bartell, M.A., R.D., CDN, Professor



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