TODAY IT’S ALL ABOUT SALMON – What’s not to love?
Chilled Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce is one of the recipes that I enjoy serving each Spring. My mind starts to wander to the holidays, when I’ll be entertaining friends and family. Serving a cold entree like a whole salmon fillet is a real hostess-saver when serving a crowd.
Salmon is indeed one of the healthiest fish around, though it can get a bit expensive if you try to eat the twice-weekly portions recommended by the medical profession. With an amazing amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D, salmon should definitely find its way into your diet at least several times a month.
I know there is so much you can get confused about when it comes to choosing, storing and cooking salmon. So I’ve taken the quandary out of the equation by creating a 3-Page “SALMON PRIMER” that explains:
- the 4 Types of salmon
- How to purchase fresh salmon
- Storing or freezing fresh salmon
- How to de-bone salmon fillets
- 5 Ways to cook salmon
Just click on the SALMON PRIMER PDF image to download your free copy today!
WHAT MY “SALMON PRIMER PDF” DOESN’T TELL YOU
Wild salmon are absolutely amazing creatures. Although spawned in the gravel beds of freshwater streams and rivers, they eventually find their way to saltwater oceans, making the physical changes required to adapt to salt water living along their journey.
You’ll find the Atlantic Salmon on the list of available salmon, but because it is severely depleted and now an endangered species, it’s best to avoid purchasing or consuming them.
But, if you travel to the Pacific Ocean, various types of wild salmon are widely available from Spring through Fall.
You’ll find fresh Chinook (King), Coho (silver) and Sockeye (Red) salmon, either whole, filleted or cut into thick steaks.
FARMED SALMON VS. WILD SALMON – THE GREAT DEBATE
Unfortunately, over-fishing, damming and pollution have taken their toll on the world’s salmon population.
The prolific Atlantic Salmon, which once fought its way up the Hudson, Seine and Rhine rivers, has now been fished to near extinction.
It’s a crisis of epic proportion for the salmon species and their cycle of life. Other salmon varieties can follow in its wake if the world doesn’t take aggressive action to change the current situation.
But, with the advent of aquaculture as an attractive alternative to fishing, farmed salmon is indeed a popular item at our fish markets. Here’s the 3 biggest advantages of farm-raised salmon:
- Available all year long
- Less expensive option to wild salmon
- Plentiful supply of mature salmon for harvesting
Now, let me tell you the downside to large-scale industrial salmon farming. First, the salmon are crowded into saltwater pens with little room to move freely.
Secondly, much farmed salmon is also given pesticides and antibiotics to protect them against diseases that come from living in such close quarters. The industry created a problem, and now seeks to remedy it with chemicals. I’m not sure that’s the wisest of ideas…
Either way, whichever kind of salmon you buy, it will be delicious, moist and flavorful when properly prepared.
THERE’S SO MANY WAYS TO COOK SALMON
Salmon is such a versatile fish, with a mild flavor and texture that can be adapted to many different cooking methods and styles.
I can think of at least 9 different ways of preparing fresh salmon.
You can try broiling, roasting, grilling, in parchment, skillet-to-oven, stir-frying, raw for sushi, pan frying or poaching your salmon. Whew, that’s a lot of ways to have your salmon!
And that makes it really easy to get several servings in per month to help with your omega-3 weekly recommended dosages.
Today I’m sharing my recipe for Chilled Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce, which will give you detailed instructions on the poaching method of cooking fresh salmon.
But, if you want more detailed instructions on different ways to cook your fresh salmon, you’ll want to download the accompanying Salmon Primer PDF. You’ll also need to know how to de-bone your salmon before cooking, so that’s included too.
The SALMON PRIMER PDF includes instructions for 5 different cooking methods for fresh salmon:
- In Parchment
NOW IT’S BEEN COOKED – HOW TO “SAUCE IT”?
Obviously, this recipe for Chilled Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce comes with its own tasty condiment. But, what if you just want to quickly grill a few salmon steaks, what to do?
I’m sharing with you the recipes for two outstanding sauces you can use on a simply cooked piece of salmon.
BEARNAISE SAUCE – Yields approximately 1 cup
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
- 3 tablespoons minced shallots
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and a pinch of salt and pepper; stir to coat. Add vinegar, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until liquid has evaporated, 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely.
- Meanwhile, fill a blender with hot water to warm it; set aside. Melt remaining 1 cup butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until foamy. Transfer butter to a measuring cup.
- Drain blender and dry well. Combine egg yolks, lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon water in the warmed and dry blender. Blend until smooth. With blender running, slowly pour hot butter in a thin stream of droplets through the open spout. Discard any milk solids at the bottom of measuring cup. Continue blending until a smooth, creamy sauce forms, 2-3 minutes. Pour sauce into a medium bowl.
- Stir in shallot reduction and tarragon and season to taste with salt, pepper, and more lemon juice, if desired.
NAN’S TIPS: CAN BE MADE UP TO 1 HOUR BEFORE SERVING. COVER AND LET STAND AT ROOM TEMPERATURE OR STORE IN A PRE-WARMED THERMOS.
BEURRE BLANC SAUCE – Yields approximately 1 cup
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon white pepper, or to taste
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, CHILLED & cut into tablespoon-size pieces
- Simmer the wine, vinegar, and shallot in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat until liquid is syrupy and reduced to 2 to tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Add cream, salt, and white pepper and simmer 1 minute longer. Reduce heat to medium-low and add a 2 Tbs. butter while whisking constantly. Add remaining butter, a few pieces at a time, whisking and adding new pieces before previous ones have completely melted. The sauce should maintain the same consistency as hollandaise. You may need to remove pan from the heat occasionally to keep from overheating the mixture.
- Once all the butter has been incorporated, remove from heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce through a medium-mesh sieve into a serving bowl, pressing down on the shallots to release juices. Serve immediately.
NAN’S TIP: SAUCE CAN BE PREPARED, UP TO THE POINT OF ADDING BUTTER, 1 HOUR PRIOR TO SERVING. BRING SAUCE BACK TO A SIMMER, AND PROCEED WITH RECIPE.
Now you’ve got two great sauces to use anytime you grill, roast or pan-fry some salmon for a quick and delicious dinner!
CHILLED POACHED SALMON WITH RAITA SAUCE
You’ll need to start with a lovely Court Bouillon…
Court bouillon, which means “short broth” in French, is a quickly-cooked, flavorful broth used for poaching foods, most commonly fish or seafood.
It’s sometimes used for poaching vegetables, eggs, sweetbreads, cockscombs, and delicate meats, like veal, too. Although, I‘m uncertain exactly who WANTS to poach, let alone eat, a cockscomb!
Traditionally, a combination of aromatic vegetables, spices and fresh herbs are used to flavor the broth used to poach foods in the French style.
The exact ingredients and proportions are not as important as the addition of a flavoring liquid, like white wine or dry vermouth, to help give the court bouillon more intensity of flavor.
My court bouillon uses carrots, onion, celery, parsley, salt and peppercorns for it’s base. A bay leaf would also be a nice addition if you desire. You’ll only use as much water as needed to cover your fish, and then add a few cups of your flavoring liquid of choice.
I like to simmer the broth for a few minutes to help develop the flavors before sliding the salmon into the pan. My method of poaching doesn’t actually involve more than a minute or two of active cooking.
After gently placing your salmon pieces into the simmering court bouillon, you need only bring it back to a simmer, cover and turn off the heat. The hot broth will gently poach the salmon as you get busy making the Raita sauce to serve with the salmon.
‘DEM BONES, ‘DEM BONES – Salmon has pin-bones!
Most of the time your fishmonger will tell you his salmon is already de-boned.
But, I find it’s always best to check yourself for the small pin bones. Especially if you’re serving salmon when entertaining at home, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Many times the pin bones have been severed by the cleaning and filleting process, especially when cut by machine. If you run your fingers over the raw flesh, you’ll feel them sticking out of the fish’s surface.
Use a pair of pliers or surgical clamps to gently pull them out, at the same angle they are lying. Don’t attempt to use tweezers, as they are not heavy-duty enough for the job.
Make sure to take a few moments to de-bone your salmon, as it’s easy to choke on the pin bones if they aren’t properly removed before cooking.
GARNISHING THE PLATTER of Chilled Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce
This is where all the fun comes into serving Chilled Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce to family and friends.
You’ve no doubt seen countless pictures of salmon fillets decked out in all sorts of “finery”. Lemon slices, jellied aspics, cucumber slices, tomato roses and everything in between. Why not head to Pinterest, or Epicurious and check out some inspirational photos to get your creative juices flowing?
This is where I find many gals fall short when planning a fabulous dinner party or gathering.
When you’re making the grocery list for your menu, don’t forget to include what you’ll need for garnishing your platters, bowls and plates.
It’s a rookie party-giving mistake, but now you’ll remember to have that all covered, right? Fabulous!
NOW WE’LL MAKE SOME RAITA SAUCE!
It all begins with yogurt or curd, as it’s called in India.
It’s not really a curd at all, just basically plain yogurt. Not Greek yogurt though, because we’re not making a Greek-style Tzatziki sauce, which is very similar.
Raita on the other hand should be quite thick, but generally has a more fluid consistency, and is much more versatile.
I like to keep the yogurt base to add-ins ratio at 2:1, so if I’m using 2 cups of yogurt, I’ll add a heaping cup of add-ins. This makes a nice and chunky sauce with lots of texture.
Raita is so versatile because of the variations you can achieve by changing up a few ingredients. Almost anything goes, including mixed vegetables, boondi, and fruits such as pineapple, mango and apples.
Fresh mint, coriander or cilantro are also common ingredients, but this version skips them in favor of parsley and dill. See, I told you this sauce can have tons of variations!
The most common spices used in Raita sauce are cumin and red chili powder. I’ve tasted versions containing coriander powder and Chaat Masala, but I really love cumin and usually just go with that.
Cumin is commonly added because it has cooling properties and is a proven digestive. It also adds a beautiful smokiness and is definitely a must in my mind.
If you want to add a little spicy bite to your Raita sauce, you can toss in a few chopped green chilies or Serrano peppers.
SPRING SALMON – It’s a “must” on my menus!
I hope you try this recipe for Chilled Poached Salmon with Raita Sauce really soon. It’s such an easy dish to prepare, but gives the most spectacular results for your efforts. When entertaining at home, you want to include some dishes that can be made ahead, and this one certainly fits the bill.
If you make this salmon dish for your friends and family, why not post a picture at THE FAB LIFE FACEBOOK GROUP to show us your creative garnishing? We’d love to see your achievement!
Don’t forget to download your free SALMON PRIMER PDF too!
Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 508Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16gCholesterol 112mgSodium 975mgCarbohydrates 15gFiber 2gSugar 9gProtein 42g
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