Poached fish is a simple technique for can cooking lean fish like tilapia, cod, sole, haddock, snapper or halibut, as well as fatty fish like salmon or trout. Poaching preserves moisture and adds flavor without adding fat — though you may want to serve poached fish with a sauce made from the leftover water.
- Filet of fish
- Large skillet
- About 4 cups of water, fish stock or vegetable stock
- 1 Lime (1/2 sliced and the other 1/2 left for juice)
- A few sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 1/2 White Onion (sliced into “coins”)
- 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1-2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1-2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of either Sea Salt or Kosher Salt
- Start by making a series of shallow, diagonal cuts on the skin side of the fish fillets. These cuts prevent the fillet from curling during the poaching process.
- Heat the liquid on med-low until it reaches the point of almost simmering– the liquid should be hot but NOT boiling.
- Add the fish to the hot liquid, skin side down. The fish should be covered completely by the liquid.
- To this, add the sliced onion, minced garlic and lime slices.
- Cook for about five minutes or until the fish is just done without being overcooked. (It should just have reached the point of becoming opaque and is no longer translucent.)
- Carefully remove the fish and the onions– set aside. Cover the fish to keep it warm while you do the next step of preparing the sauce.
- Remove the lime slices and discard.
- Cook the liquid over high heat until it has reduced by half.
- To the reduced liquid, add 1-2 Tablespoons of butter and whisk into the liquid.
- Next, add the same amount of all-purpose flour to the mixture (equal amounts flour to butter)
- Whisk until flour is cooked and mixture has thickened (it should smell more like toasted bread rather than “doughy” when the flour has reached the point that it is cooked).
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the fish on a plate and garnish with the onions that you set aside.
- Top fish with the sauce, garnish with some freshly chopped cilantro, lime juice and an extra pinch of salt (sea salt if you have it; if not, then Kosher salt will do.)
*Instead of making a white sauce to top the Tilapia, you could instead top with a Roasted Salsa Verde (or a Basic Salsa Verde) which you can make ahead of time. You can serve the fish with rice, pasta or on top of a bed of fresh spinach.