Copper salmon poached at low temperature in orange and lemon rind-infused olive oil, orange-enriched green peas, trio of carrots and pickled red onions

In a previous post, I told the story of this fabulous poached salmon that I experienced long time ago. Today is another story of a poached salmon. But this one was not illegally fished at all, I simply and classically bought it at my favorite grocery store and poach it in olive oil at low temperature.

The rightly named Oily Fish
Poaching (for the rest of this post, it will mean immerse the food in a liquid to cook it gently) is naturally not a rare technique. It is even very pedestrian when one talks about eggs (in boiling water), pears (in red wine), or, here we are, fish (in a broth)… In the latter case, it allows to cook particularly fragile and delicate fish (sole, turbot, cod…) without aggressing it with a traumatizing contact with a hot metallic surface. But there are other species of fish that particularly benefit from the poaching technique, in oil this time. And funny enough, this is as if they had been premonitorily named after their natural inclination for oil bathing: I obviously mean the oily fishes. Tuna, mackerel, salmon, sardines, herrings, anchovies, wahoos, bonitos… Once again, it is interesting to note that the oily fishes are generally those that you can buy in cans, as if there was an harmony, an osmosis between the fat inside and outside the fish… As a matter of fact, those fishes as a whole and salmon in particular love oil and being cooked, poached, preserved… in oil.

A highway of flavors
But poaching in oil also offers another considerable advantage. As everybody knows it, fats in general, and oil in particular, are fantastic to capture and to convey tastes and flavors. No wonder why everything is better with bacon! So, when you posh an oily fish in an oil bath flavored with herbs, spices, essences… the surrounding oil captures those flavors, pass them to the fish… rich in internal oil that will in turn capture them… et voilà! This characteristic is a windfall for the cook and opens the door to many culinary possibilities. To be noted that poaching in oil is a particularly efficient way to cook some vegetables and infuse them with extra flavors, fennels with citruses or beets with star anise, among an infinite number of other options.

In this particular case, the salmon steaks were poached at 150F in oil infused with orange and lemon rinds, Timut pepper, bay leaves… They were served with green peas blanched, cooked in a small quantity of French limonade and mixed with a quickly made orange marmalade, with multicolor carrots cooked in butter, and with quickly pickled red onions…  

Levels of difficulty

30 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes

Ingredients 4 servings

§  1 Copper salmon fillet of 1.5 lbs. cut in 5 steaks
§  1 big orange (organic)
§  1 lemon (organic)
§  1 lb. of green peas, shelled
§  3 baby carrots (e.g. 1 white, 1 red and 1 purple) cut lengthwise in 4 sticks
§  ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
§  1 cup of olive oil (poaching)
§  1 tsp of olive oil (grilling)
§  1 tbsp of butter
§  1/2 oz of sugar (marmalade)
§  1 oz of sugar (pickling)
§  1 tbsp of sugar (rubbing)
§  1 tbsp of coarse sea salt (rubbing)
§  1 oz of white (or other) vinegar
§  1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
§  1 tsp of soy sauce
§  ½ cup of French limonade (somehow a natural Sprite)
§  Timut pepper
§  Bay leaves
§  Thyme
§  S&P

1.     Preparing and cooking the fish
§  Handling them with caution as their flesh is fragile, rub, each side, the steaks with the coarse salt and the sugar. Let them rest for 20 minutes in the fridge, to eliminate water and firm them up
§  With a peeler, roughly remove the rinds of the orange and the lemon. Put them in a pan with the Timut pepper corns, and torrefy them so that they start exhaling their flavor. Take the pan out of the burner and pour the cup of olive oil, and let the whole infuse
§  After 20 minutes, take the salmon out of the fridge, and pat dry the steaks with a paper towel. They sweat like after a hot sauna session! Please note that you don’t need to remove the salt and sugar as they will be diluted in the olive oil.
§  Put the salmon steaks in an oven dish as small as possible (otherwise, you would need more oil) to contain the steaks without overlapping them, and pour the olive oil with the rinds, bay leaves,, pepper corns… on the steaks. It should cover them entirely
§  Put in a preheated 150F oven for around 12 minutes or till the salmon appears cooked at your convenience, taking account of the fact that you will let it rest in this flavored old for 5/10 more minutes
§  Just before serving, remove the salmon steaks from the oil, remove the possible secretions of white albumin and let it rest on a grid for 1 minute to eliminate the oil

2.     Preparing and cooking the sides
§  The marmalade: Take the orange and supreme it to obtain rind/skin/membrane/seed-free segments. Press the trims to recuperate the orange juice. Put the ½ oz of sugar and put in a pan with the orange juice, and let it reduce by around 50%. Add a splash balsamic vinegar and of soy sauce. Add the orange supremes and let them gently candied till obtain a kind of marmalade (then, you should be close to serve). Add the marmalade to the green peas. See below
§  The pickled onions: Put the 1 oz of sugar, the white vinegar and an equivalent quantity of water in a pan, and put to boiling. Add the sliced onions. As soon as it boils, remove the pan out of the burner and let rest like that till serving
§  The carrots: Cook the carrots in butter and complete with a thin layer of limonade till they are cooked, but still firm. Attention: if you use purple carrots, cooked them separately from the other colors, or simply steam them
§  The green peas: Blanch them 1 minute in salted boiling water and cool them down immediately in iced water. Cook them in butter and a thin layer of limonade (you can cook them in the same pan as the carrots). When they are cooked at your convenience (I like them al dente, and even a little bit crispier), mix them with the orange marmalade
§  Plating: Plate at your convenience, the green peas, the carrots, the salmon steaks and finally the red onion pickles spread all over the plate. Squeeze some lemon on the fish
§  Wine pairing : A citrusy sauvignon blanc ‘from the Loire valley (Pouilly fumé for instance) or a light and crispy Rosé de Provence will perfectly pair with this dish where the moist and flavored fish is enhanced by the balance of sweetness and acidity

Ready for the oven


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