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One major difference in my poached fish from traditional poached fish is that I actually steam the fish on a bed of thick-sliced lemons instead of actually cooking the fish in the liquid. I think it makes for a better texture. The flavorful poaching liquid still permeates the fish. Be sure to use a fish that is firm and able to stand up to the process. Some choices are salmon, halibut, cod, sword, tilapia and sea bass.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes    Serving Size: the number of 6 ounce fish filets used

  • 6 ounce, 1/2 to 1 inch thick firm fish filets (see above)
  • 2-4 cups water, depending on the size pan used
  • 1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 30 whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 large dried bay leaf
  • 1 lemon for each fish filet, sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • capers, optional but recommended

Select a pan large enough to fit the number of fish filets to be poached in one layer. Rinse the fish filets and set aside. Add enough water to come up the side of the pan 1 inch. Add the wine, garlic, peppercorns, thyme, parsley and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 20 minutes. The liquid should come up no more than 1/2 inch in the pan. While simmering, remove the non-flat end of the lemon and cut the remainder into 1/4 inch slices, usually 4 slices per lemon. Lay the 4 slices on a flat surface next to each other to form a square. Insert toothpicks between the touching sides of the slices to create a solid base or raft. Place the lemon raft in the poaching liquid and top with the fish filet. Cover the pan and steam over very low heat until done, about 10 minutes per 1/2 inch of thickness of the fish.

Remove the steamed fish filet from the pan and place on a warm plate. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with lemon wedges and capers if desired.


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