Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Poached Salmon with Creamy Caper Onion Sauce

Whenever I get home from a holiday, I reminisce by looking through my photos and remembering all the people I’ve met or visited with and all the places I’ve been.  I also reminisce about the meals I have eaten.  I’m going back through my summer photos of food because there are so many dinners and salads and desserts that got made, photographed and eaten with relish, but never got posted.  I am not even home yet and I am already feeling nostalgic for wild salmon, which I have yet to find in Cairo.

Wild salmon is much drier than its farm-raised brethren so poaching is an excellent method of cooking it.   Add on a creamy caper onion sauce and you can’t go wrong.   I cooked this, along with a cherry tomato tart, for my in-laws and it was very well received.  My father-in-law has been ill and had not been eating very well for a couple of weeks when I served this and he cleaned his plate!  We were all very excited.  Seriously.  To the point that we took a photo of his empty plate.  Looking back now, that seems weird, but it felt right at the time.  Any small victory!

For the salmon
4 fillets of salmon
1 cup dry white wine
2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

For the sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small wedge purple onion
2 tablespoons tiny capers
Black pepper

Put your mayonnaise in a small bowl and cut a small wedge off of your purple onion.

Grate the onion wedge on the fine side of your grater, making sure to catch the juice.

Add the juice and the grated onion into the mayo bowl with the capers.

Give the mixture a few good grinds of fresh black pepper and stir.  Set aside.   This sauce is always best made ahead to allow the flavors a chance to meld.

In a saucepan big enough to hold all of your salmon, simmer the white wine, garlic and salt with enough water added so that the liquid will just cover your salmon.  Remember that when the salmon is added, the level will rise so don’t overfill.

After about 10 minutes of gentle simmering, add the salmon, skin side down.  Poach for about five minutes and then turn the salmon over.  

Using a spatula, gently remove the skin and set aside. 

Remove your salmon from the liquid and set aside.  (The poaching liquid can be saved for future poaching use or it would be a great addition to soup.)

Fry the salmon skin in a non-stick skillet until it is crunchy.  You shouldn’t have to add any oil to the pan.  Drain on some paper towels and sprinkle with a little sea salt.  

Cut the skin into small pieces with a knife or scissors.   If your family is anything like mine, hide the crispy salmon skin until you are ready to serve, otherwise you will turn around to find it all gone.

Serve the salmon on a bed of mixed spring greens that are lightly tossed with garlic vinaigrette or any other light salad dressing.   (One day I’ll post the tomato tart recipe too! Meanwhile, here's a little preview.  Cherry tomatoes, sweet peppers and fresh mozzarella balls with toasted pine nuts in a flakey crust. It was pretty and so GOOD!)

Top each salmon fillet with a good couple of spoonsful of the caper onion sauce and a few of the crispy skin bits.



  1. I love salmon. Usually, I just coat it with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic and bake in oven for about 10 minutes. Will have to try your recipe soon.

  2. Even if you cook it your way, make the sauce. It just goes so nicely with salmon.

  3. I love salmon and I like the way you cooked it. Looks so so delicious, Stacy! Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe.

  4. Thanks, Anuradha! I love all salmon but I am particularly enamored with the wild caught ones. They have a special flavor that almost reminds me of crab. I know that sounds odd but it's true! And the crispy skin! When we lived in Singapore, I could buy it in a bag like crisps to snack on. So tasty!

  5. This recipe is so simple..and looks delish..I’ll definitely try it soon!

    maycee Lake Clark Alaska Bear Tours


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