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Poached Salmon With Watercress Sauce Recipe

Poached Salmon With Watercress Sauce Recipe

Poaching in a court bouillon, an aromatic liquid, is an ideal way to cook a whole salmon or salmon trout, adding flavour and keeping it moist. Ask your fishmonger to clean the fish through the stomach. Order of Work
  1. Make The Court Bouillon

  2. Prepare and Poach The Salmon

  3. Make The Sauce

  4. Finish The Salmon

Poached Salmon With Watercress Sauce Recipe
Poached Salmon With Watercress Sauce Recipe

Getting Ahead

The salmon can be poached up to 24 hours ahead and kept, tightly covered, in the refrigerator. Remove the salmon from the refrigerator 20 minutes before serving to allow it to reach room temperature. Peel off the skin just before serving. The watercress sauce can be made up to 4 hours ahead.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Courses, Seafood
Servings 4
Calories 357 kcal


  • 4lb fresh salmon, cleaned through the stomach
  • Salt and pepper
  • #For the court bouillon#
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 8 fl oz dry white wine
  • 2 1/2 pints water, more if needed
  • 1 bouquet garni made with 5-6 parsley stalks, 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme, and 1 bay leaf
  • #For the watercress sauce#
  • 1 bunch of watercress
  • 8floz double cream
  • 8floz plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • Tabasco sauce
  • #Tother suitable#
  • Fish bass, salmon trout


  • #Make The Court Bouillon# Peel the onion, leaving a little of the root attached, and cut it in half through root and stalk. Lay each onion half flat on the chopping board and cut across into medium slices.
  • Peel the carrot and cut it across into medium slices.
  • Combine the onion, carrot, peppercorns, white wine, water, and 5 ml (1 tsp) salt in the roasting tin. Add the bouquet garni.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, prepare the salmon. “Aromatic ingredients of court bouillon add flavour to poached fish.” Click here to see how to trim a fish. #Prepare and Poach The Salmon# Scale the salmon , then trim the fish. Using the filleting knife, slit between the ribcage bones and flesh. “Use flexible filleting knife with thin blade to separate fillets from central bones” “Grip salmon firmly as you cut”
  • Work towards the backbone, loosening the flesh from the bones on both sides of the ribcage without cutting the skin.
  • Using the scissors, snip the bone at the head to release it. Pull the bone out from the head end.
  • Snip the bone at the tail end to release it Cut the bone into pieces and reserve. With the tweezers, remove any visible bones from the fish, then run your fingers along the inside of the fish to check that all have been removed.
  • Rinse the fish inside and out with cold water and pat dry with paper towels. “Rinse raw fish before cooking to wash away any remaining impurities” Click here to see how to scale a fish.
  • Add the reserved pieces of bone to the cold court bouillon in the roasting tin.
  • Sprinkle the inside of the fish with salt and pepper, making sure the seasoning is evenly distributed. “Sprinkling salmon flesh with salt and pepper before poaching brings out best flavour” “Fish is laid flat on work surface for seasoning”
  • Cut and fold a piece of foil slightly larger than the fish and lay the fish on it Set it in the roasting tin so that the body of the fish is in the liquid. “Pour in water to ensure body of salmon is covered.” “Court bouillon should be cold or skin will split when fish is added”
  • If necessary, add cold water to the cold court bouillon so that the body of the fish is completely immersed. Cover the roasting tin with foil and bring the liquid very slowly to a boil; this should take about 15 minutes. Simmer 1 minute, then let the salmon cool to tepid in the liquid. Meanwhile, make the watercress sauce. “Folded foil makes it easy to transport fish” #Make The Sauce# Divide the sprigs of the watercress, then wash them in the colander and dry them thoroughly. Strip the leaves from the stalks.
  • Pile the watercress leaves on the chopping board and chop them, using the chefs knife.
  • Whip the cream until soft peaks form. In another bowl, whisk the yogurt until smooth.
  • Add the yogurt to the whipped cream and stir gently to mix them together thoroughly.
  • Add the chopped watercress and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice from each half and add to the sauce. “Lemon juice gives freshness and tang to watercress sauce” “Lemon juice gives freshness and tang to watercress sauce” “Watercress is coarsely chopped to give texture to sauce”
  • Stir the sauce until evenly blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bowl and chill until ready to serve. #Finish The Salmon# Holding the ends of the foil, carefully lift the salmon out of the liquid; let drain. Lift the fish off the foil.
  • Using the small knife, slit the skin neatly around the head. Repeat around the tail.
  • Peel off the skin from the body, pulling it gently with the help of the small knife. Leave the head and tail intact. Scrape along the back ridge of the fish to remove the line of bones.
  • Using the small knife, gently scrape off any dark flesh from the length of the salmon.
  • TO SERVE Carefully transfer the fish to a large, oval platter and decorate with fresh dill sprigs, salad leaves, tomato wedges, and vegetables, if you like. Serve the watercress sauce separately. Slice the salmon, discarding the head and tail. “Poached salmon is best served at room temperature” “Watercress sauce is cool and fresh-tasting”
Keyword Fish recipes, Salmon recipes