Thursday, November 10, 2011

Poached Salmon and Tomato Sauce with Pasta

I have an unusual piece of salmon.  Perhaps unusual is not a fair description because every salmon has a tail.  It’s just not the customary piece people buy and cook.  I ended up with this lovely shiny tail when I bought a whole frozen salmon from the frozen butcher.  By which I mean he sells mostly frozen products, not that he is made of ice. 

The nice guys in the white rubber aprons cut my whole fish apart into steaks with an exposed electric saw that made me shudder for their fingers.  And then they popped all the pieces in a plastic bag, which I put in my freezer.  Gradually we have eaten all the proper pieces, that is to say, the steaks and now I am left with just the tail.  It seems to have a lot of meat so I decided to poach it, debone it and use the meat and poaching liquid to make a sauce for pasta. 

Here goes.

1 piece of salmon tail – a little more than 1 pound or half a kilo of fish.  Substitutions encouraged.
8 garlic cloves
1 can (425g or 15oz) whole or crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 springs of fresh thyme (4 for poaching liquid, 2 to serve)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
250g or 8 oz pasta

Chop the garlic up and the sauté it with a little olive oil in a relatively deep saucepan.

Add in the can of tomatoes and, if they are whole, break them up with the spoon.

Add in the white wine and the 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, season your fish tail with sea salt and several grinds of fresh black pepper.

Let the poaching liquid boil for just a few minutes then turn it down to simmer.

Add the salmon tail and enough water to bring the level up to at least cover half of it.

Add in four of the sprigs of thyme and cover the pan.  Set your timer for 25 minutes. 

Halfway through, turn the salmon over.  

When the timer dings, remove the salmon from the poaching liquid and leave it to cool.

Turn the heat under the poaching liquid back up and let it boil along merrily until reduced by half.

Meanwhile, put your pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.  Cook your pasta of choice according to package instructions.  Drain and keep warm. 

When the fish is cool enough to handle, peel the skin off with a knife and your fingers.  Remove the meat from the top half of the tail.  Remove the spine bones.

Turn that baby over and remove the skin from the bottom half.

Break the fish up into bite-sized pieces.   Chop the reserved thyme into little pieces.

When the poaching liquid is thickened enough, remove the old pieces of thyme.

Depending on your pot, add the pasta to the sauce or the sauce to the pasta.  Add in the salmon and the fresh thyme.

Gently stir or give it a toss to mix through.

Enjoy!  This will feed at least three, possibly four, hungry people. 


  1. I like this recipe, sounds delicious and the great pictures make it look so.

  2. My kids loved this dish. I did cheat & use a boneless filet though to make my life a bit easier!

  3. Substitutions are encouraged! Glad they liked it!


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