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Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce

Poached Salmon with Irish Butter Sauce


For the salmon

  • Water
  • Salt
  • 2 1/2 center cut of fresh salmon

For the Irish butter sauce

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cold water
  • 1/2 (1 stick) cold butter, diced
  • 1 lemon juice (approx.)
  • Sprigs of watercress or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


For the salmon

The proportion of salt to water is very important. We use 1 rounded tablespoon salt to every 5 cups water. Although the fish or piece of fish should be just covered with water, the aim is to use the minimum amount of water to preserve the maximum flavor, so therefore one should use a saucepan that will fit the fish exactly. An oval cast-iron saucepan is usually perfect.

Half fill the pan with measured salted water and bring to a boil. Put in the piece of fish, just covering with water, and bring back to a boil. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.

Turn off the heat, let the fish sit in the water. Serve within 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the Irish butter sauce.

For the Irish butter sauce

Put the egg yolks into a heavy-bottomed stainless-steel saucepan on a very low heat. Add the cold water and whisk thoroughly.

Add the butter bit by bit, whisking all the time. As soon as one piece melts, add the next. The mixture will gradually thicken, but if it shows signs of becoming too thick or "scrambling" slightly, remove from the heat immediately and add a little cold water if necessary. Do not leave the pan or stop whisking until the sauce is made. Finally, add the lemon juice to taste. Pour into a bowl and keep warm over hot, but not boiling, water.

To serve, lift the cooked salmon carefully from the poaching liquid. Peel off the skin gently. Garnish with sprigs of watercress or parsley. Serve with the Irish butter sauce.

Poached Salmon with Buttery Fennel Sauce

Irish salmon is unquestionably some of the best in the world, if not the best. The recipe for a whole poached salmon adds a buttery sauce with fennel, always one of Ireland's favorite herbs.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes


8 to 10 pounds whole fresh salmon
for the poaching liquid:
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons fennel sprigs, finely chopped
salt , to taste
pepper , to taste
for the sauce:
1 pound butter , chilled and cut into small cubes
8 ounces poaching liquid , recipe above
8 ounces white wine
2 to 3 shallots , very finely chopped
3 tablespoons fennel sprigs, chopped fine
2 tablespoons heavy cream
salt , to taste
white pepper , to taste


Place the poaching liquid in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes and leave to cool and strain.

Clean and (if necessary) gut the salmon. Place in a long fish poacher and add enough of the poaching liquid to just cover the fish.

Place the poacher on the stove, bring to the boil and then simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes per pound.

About ten minutes before cooking is complete, remove from the heat and allow to finish cooking in the liquid. The fish should feel firm to the touch but easily pierced with a skewer. Remove the salmon when cooled slightly, reserving liquid.

Peel the skin from the middle of the salmon, leaving the head and tail ends in place, and decorate with wisps of fennel.

Meanwhile, to make the sauce: Combine the strained poaching liquid and wine in a saucepan, add the shallots and bring to the boil. Simmer until the shallots becomes tender. Remove from the heat and add the cream, then return to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Slowly whisk in the butter the cold butter, piece by piece. Heat only over a very low heat, and only if needed. When all the butter is combined, bring the sauce just back to the boil, whisking constantly.

Recipe Notes

You get a salmon fillet that is seasoned and lightly poached in butter, which keeps the moisture and texture of the fish, infusing it with all that glorious butter flavor.

You serve it up over classic cheese grits with cheddar cheese, so very creamy, then top it off with a single poached egg and a generous dollop of bacon gravy.

Did I just say &ldquobacon gravy&rdquo? Yes, I did.

I am not joking about the YUM FACTOR of this combination. I am filing this under Mike&rsquos Favorites. The story is we were sitting around in the kitchen the morning after a late night, not moving very quickly, stomachs grumbling, thinking, &ldquoWhat the heck do we want to eat this morning?&rdquo

It was getting late, but we had time. No rush, right?

Nowhere to be, nothing pressing to do. How about a nice brunch? Yes! Isn&rsquot is fun to take a bit of time for yourself and just enjoy the morning? We sure did.

Here is the recipe that resulted.

Lemon Thyme and Ginger

Have you ever heard of wild sea spinach? I hadn’t until I read about it in, The Forgotten Skills of Cooking, by Darina Allen. Wild sea spinach grows along the coastline of Ireland, and other countries in the UK. Another species of wild spinach grows in New Zealand and parts of Asia. Sea spinach is related to most cultivated beets. However, casting family lines aside, prepare sea spinach the same way as cultivated spinach. Darina has made me so curious about wild sea plants. I wonder how they taste and if they are salty from being bathed by the sea.

Anyway, I saw a recipe of hers where she prepares wild sea spinach in a butter sauce and serves it spooned over oven poached sea trout. Maybe I am a romantic at heart, but the idea of cooking vegetables and fish from the local coastal area made me want to jump into the cookbook and be there. If you read my post about crispy potato skins, you know about my fantasy wanting to forage wild plants with Darina. It is very possible this recipe could have been the one that got my fantasy in full gear.

In Darina’s recipe, she poaches a whole sea trout “en papillote”. This is a technique where you wrap fish in foil or parchment paper and bake it in the oven. I love to prepare fish using this technique. The fish is very moist and the natural juices accumulate in the pouches. I have never poached a whole fish en papillote before. My visual of a whole salmon wrapped in foil is rather massive and would be hard to handle. For my purposes, I decided to scale the recipe down.

Salmon filets are a great substitute for sea trout. I also believe arctic char or small rainbow trout would work too. Perhaps, I may have to go to the UK to get sea spinach, but now and then sea trout are available in stores in the Northeast US. I substituted baby spinach to replace the sea spinach. It may not have the ocean saltiness, but the baby spinach has a wonderful smoothness and flavor in a butter sauce.

The spinach butter sauce is an adaptation of a beurre blanc, a French white butter sauce, and is traditionally served with fish. It is not difficult to make, but you must be patient and not let the butter get too hot. While I am whisking in the butter, I usually move the pan on and off the heat to control the temperature. It is important to keep whisking away until the butter is all incorporated. Your whisking, and keeping the temperature low, are the keys to get the butter emulsified in the sauce.

Baked salmon with spinach butter sauce is a delicate and rich dish. Because the spinach sauce must stay warm and is not easily reheated, it is not a meal that can easily be made ahead. It is possible to cook the fish ahead and serve at room temperature. However, the spinach butter sauce must be warm. I have read that a thermos will help keep the butter sauce warm, or placed in a double boiler over very low heat. Ultimately, it is best to eat salmon with spinach butter sauce as soon as it is done.

This is an elegant meal, and I believe a treat to be served on occasion. Serve along with baby potatoes boiled in salted water then drizzled with olive oil and herbs. You need the boiled potatoes because whatever amount of sauce the salmon does not soak up, the potatoes will. You should not serve this meal with anything else that is rich and fancy. The spinach butter sauce is all the embellishment you need.

A delicious dinner of oven poached salmon with spinach butter sauce, boiled baby potatoes with parsley and chives, green salad with a light dressing, white wine, and good company. Your special dinner is ready.

Top 10 Most Delicious Irish Recipes

17th of March is getting close, and do you know what that means? Yes, the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, the most commonly recognized patron saint of Ireland! And in that honor we made this list of top 10 most delicious traditional Irish recipes. There are varieties of choices that we collected, and of course there are ones made with the most influential in the Irish cuisine – the potato.

This ideas will be an amazing snack or dinner, and in the same time they will decorate your table for the celebration. Be that lady that manages to do everything on time and in the same time does all that flawless, and you can use our help while doing that. Continue reading this article and find the perfect recipe for your Saint Patrick’s Day party. Enjoy the day and don’t forget to write bellow which one did you choose. To get the full recipes just click on the links bellow the picture.

1. Foley’s Irish Pub’s Shepherd’s Pie

This is one traditional Irish recipe that you need to try the second you think of Irish food. The best thing is that it is authentic and you can have that Irish sense in your home. The main ingredient is beef meat and the mixture of green peas and carrots, white pepper salt and garlic will make you crave for more.

2. Irish Stew

This is a great recipe that you can make in your crockpot, and the best thing is that the whole house will smell amazing thanks to this delicious recipe, which will make everyone sit on the table and wait till it’s done. The only thing that is little different from the traditional one is that beef is used instead of lamb or mutton, but it is something that you decide by your own taste.

3. Potato and Leek Soup

In the cold winter days all you need to warm your body is a nice hot soup, and who knows this better then an Irishman? They just know how to pair the ingredients, so believe us when we tell you that this potato and leek soup is the best soup recipes there is.

4. Lucky Irish Soda Bread

If you are looking for a new and sure bread recipe we won’t think twice to recommend you this one. The whole mixture is done for the oven in a less then 30 minutes. This is a great solution for all of you who want simple and delicious bread recipe, and this one’s secret flavor is raisins, yummy!

5. Irish Aebleskiver


This little delicious treats are Irish pancake puffs and are great to serve to your family dinner, because they are unusual and everyone’s gonna love their delicious flavor. Click on the link right below the picture to get the full instructions that you will be needing.

6. Corned Beef and Cabbage Potato Salad

Potatoes are always good idea! Try this Irish salad recipe that can be done in approximately one hour. This will make a great dinner and is also an amazing booster for your vitamin C. Get all the ingredients needed from the list (click the link above) and don’t forget your olive oil!

7. Irish Apple Tart

If you are bored from the traditional American apple pie, don’t give up on the pie completely! This Irish recipe is done on a plate, which at first can sound crazy, but it turns out pretty well. To add a little extra flavor use cinnamon and grated ginger.

8. Chocolate Irish Cream Filled Donuts

There is no one in the world that would turn out a tasty chocolate doughnut. This Irish recipe is different from the usual one that is familiar to all of us, but is great for breaking the monotony and to make a sweet surprise to your loved ones.

9. Homemade Baileys Irish Cream

Mmm, this is one rare alcoholic drink that actually tastes amazing! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and make your own drink for your celebration. All you need is already in your house, so separate 5 or 10 minutes of your time, and make this delicious baileys all by yourself!

10. Poached Salmon With Irish Butter Sauce

Doesn’t the title of this recipe only makes you eager to try it out as soon as possible? Nicely cooked salmon with some tasteful butter sauce, it doesn’t get any better. We saved the best for the end, so you won’t go wrong if you choose to try this one out because the Irish people know what they are doing.

Poached Salmon with Tomato-Herb Butter Sauce and Cucumber

This recipe combines some classic complementary salmon flavors—herbs (particularly dill), white wine, cucumber, and sweet butter. The poached salmon is about as simple as you can get when cooking fish. (You can use the recipe for the poaching liquid to cook almost any fish or shellfish.) I don’t think there is anything better for a summer lunch than a beautifully poached whole salmon garnished with herbs and cucumber. The poaching liquid, the salad, and the butter can all be made in advance. Baby Red Bliss potatoes boiled in the poaching liquid and served sprinkled with fleur de sel and cracked pepper would complete the meal.

Occasion Buffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe Course main course

Taste and Texture buttery, herby, savory, sweet, winey


  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 carrot , diced
  • 1 stalk celery , trimmed and diced
  • ½ large onion , diced
  • ½ fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons coarse salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup light olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced shallots
  • 1 large carrot , cut crosswise into paper-thin disks
  • 3 large cucumbers , peeled, seeded, and cut into 3 inch × ¼-inch-thick sticks
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 7-ounce pieces salmon , skin and bones removed
  • Tomato -Herb Butter Sauce (recipe follows)
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter , cut into pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Tomato Fondue
  • 2 tablespoons fines herbes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


To make the poaching liquid, combine the water, wine, carrot, celery, onion, diced fennel, peppercorns, fennel seeds, thyme, and bay leaf in a large roasting pan on top of the stove over high heat.

Stir in 3 tablespoons of the salt and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat and simmer the liquid for 20 minutes. Remove it from the heat and allow the aromatics to infuse the poaching liquid for at least 1 hour.

Heat the light olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté for 3 minutes, or until translucent.

Add the carrot disks and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the cucumbers and sauté for an additional 3 minutes, or just until the cucumbers begin to wilt.

Stir in the dill and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.

Bring the poaching liquid to a boil over high heat.

Place the salmon in the poaching liquid and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer the fish for about 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the salmon reads 130 degrees.

Using two spatulas, lift the salmon from the poaching liquid and place it on a large, oval serving platter. Spoon the cucumber sauté around the edge of the platter and spoon the Tomato-Herb Butter over the top of it.

To make tomato-herb butter, combine the wine and shallots in a small nonreactive saucepan over medium heat.

Bring the liquid to a simmer then lower the heat and just barely simmer for about 7 minutes, or until the wine is reduced to 1 tablespoon.

Slowly add the butter, a piece at a time, whisking until the butter is emulsified into the wine.

Keep the saucepan over the heat only until the butter is completely melted.

Whisking constantly, beat in the Tomato Fondue and fines herbes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve lukewarm. (The butter can be made early in the day. When you reheat it, whisk it constantly, in the top half of a double boiler over boiling water.)

Recipe Summary

  • Salmon:
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sliced shallots
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 4 lemon slices
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
  • Sauce:
  • ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh sorrel
  • ¼ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chervil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Remaining Ingredients:
  • 3 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 8 cups torn Bibb lettuce (about 5 ounces)

To prepare salmon, combine the first 6 ingredients in a large skillet bring to a boil. Add fish to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes (fish may not be completely cooked). Remove from heat. Let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Remove fish from pan with a slotted spoon place on a dish. Cover and chill. Discard cooking liquid.

To prepare sauce, combine mayonnaise and next 9 ingredients (through pepper) in a small bowl cover and chill.

Cook peas in boiling water 1 minute or until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water drain. Arrange 2 cups of lettuce and 3/4 cup peas on each of 4 plates. Top each serving with 1 salmon fillet and about 3 tablespoons sauce.

15-Minute Perfect Poached Salmon with Chive Butter

This is the most PERFECTLY cooked poached salmon. Ever. Simmered gently in dill and onion infused water until just done, it&rsquos tender and flaky and moist every time. And the best part? It&rsquos drizzled in melted butter with chives. Oh this is so good. SO good.

The only thing that could possibly make this low-carb, 15-minute (yes, 15 MINUTE) recipe better is having someone else cook it for you. And lucky me- my father did just that when he came to visit last week!

What better way to celebrate Norwegian Independence Day than with a Norwegian poached salmon recipe?

It was SO good, and SO simple, and it took him almost no time to make it at all. I knew I had to have him teach me how to make it, so I could share it with you good people.

I couldn&rsquot wait more than a week to make it again. This might have to become a weekly recipe in our house.

I&rsquom telling you- this recipe could not be easier to make.

In summary, here&rsquos what you do: boil salmon in water with some dill, salt, and red onion. Drizzle with melted butter and chives.

But there are a few tricks and tips that will help you get the best, most flavorful, most fall-apart flaky poached salmon ever. Here they are.

First, flavor the poaching liquid well. Amounts aren&rsquot too important here, but when in doubt, add more. I used four big sprigs of dill (from the garden!), two thick slices of red onion (and separated the rings), and a generous amount of kosher salt (about 1 tablespoon).

As the fish cooks, it will absorb the flavors of the liquid, so you want to make sure there&rsquos a lot of flavor for it to absorb. Kind of like what you cook pasta or boil potatoes in very salty water. Salty like the sea.

Second, boil the fish gently. If the water boils too much, it will cause the fish to cook faster and be less fall-apart flaky. You want to bring the water to barely a bubble and basically simmer it once you get it going. I use this method to poach chicken breasts, too.

Use just enough water to barely cover the fish so it&rsquos not super submerged, and cover the skillet as it cooks.

Just look at that perfect flaky goodness. Mmm, mmm.

Third, be careful when removing it when it&rsquos done! If you cooked the fish correctly, it will want to fall apart when you pick it up out of the skillet. I used two utensils to get it out- a wide spatula and a wooden spoon on the other end. I am adding a fish spatula to my list of things to get- it would have worked perfectly!

The final step is melting some salted butter with some chopped fresh chives and drizzling it over the top of the fish before serving. No need to get fancy here- I just microwaved the butter and chives together in a pyrex measuring cup until it was melted.

I recommend serving this with boiled potatoes (also excellent for drizzling the chive butter) and steamed asparagus or green beans.

Pro-tip: save the strained poaching liquid to add to fish stew or seafood chowder.

Kitchen Report

When most people hear the words “New England dinner” their first thoughts usually run toward a lobster dinner, a clambake, or an oyster shuck. But there is another kind of seafood that has a long association with the Fourth of July, and that is poached salmon with egg sauce.

The legend has it that Abigail Adams served Atlantic salmon, fresh garden peas, and new potatoes to John Adams on the first Fourth of July in 1776. And while many New Englanders admit to eating salmon on the Fourth of July, finding strong ties to Abigail Adams remains, well, fishy.

The first clue that this may be more of a treasured tradition promoted by a well-intentioned chef rather than fact: Mr. & Mrs. Adams were actually in separate cities on the first Fourth of July. Another clue suggests that John Adams thought July 2 should be celebrated as Independence Day. A third clue comes in the modern form of marketing, the kind of confidence that has declared that we have a National Chocolate Cake Day, and that April is Grilled Cheese Month. Also, doughnuts are free on the second Friday in June.

These declarations about food are eagerly adopted because it gives us an excuse to indulge in the foods we already like.

It seems the New York World’s Fair in 1964 had something to do with connecting poached salmon and egg sauce to the famous founding couple. An enterprising restaurant specializing in American cookery published the menu in question, sourcing it to the American Heritage Cookbook. You can read more about it from this culinary history blogger.

However, I happen to own a copy of the American Heritage Cookbook published in 1964 and I don’t see a reference to Abigail Adams at all. In my edition it simply says:

“From the earliest days it has been a tradition all through New England to serve Poached Salmon with Egg Sauce, along with the first new potatoes and early peas, on the Fourth of July. The eastern salmon began to ‘run’ about this time, and the new vegetables were just coming in.”

Atlantic salmon used to run in the rivers from Canada all the way down to the Long Island sound. Today, as a consequence of industrial and agricultural development, Atlantic salmon is now mostly found in Maine. Sometimes I can find wild Atlantic salmon in the market, but unfortunately I had to resort to farmed salmon when testing this recipe.

So, did the Adams family eat salmon on Independence Day? Maybe it doesn’t really matter. The point is, in New England, poached salmon with egg sauce has been a continuing tradition. At least this is what I’m told. Having lived in New England most of my life, I can truthfully say I’ve never had poached salmon on the Fourth of July. Hamburgers off the smoky backyard grill, yes. And gigantic bratwurst, “brats,” served by the local firemen wearing red suspenders when we lived in Wisconsin. But that’s a Midwestern story.

Americans have always been quick to establish traditions, toss them out, and make new ones. We’re good like that. And if saying Abigail Adams served poached salmon on July 4 sold a few more plates in 1964 and makes us feel more patriotic when we eat it, where’s the harm (outside of being historically inaccurate)? After all, do we really know if George Washington actually cut down that cherry tree?

Tall tales are as American as apple pie. The point is, Abigail Adams was a woman of vision. And George Washington was a man of valor. Those facts are indisputable. We need our founding stories as we lift up our chins and spirits in wonder to give meaning to the fireworks bursting overhead.

Go ahead, serve up this New England legend on the Fourth. It’s tasty. Somewhere, the wild salmon are running from sea to shining sea.

Poached Salmon Steaks

6 salmon steaks, 1 inch thick

Parsley sprigs and fresh dill for garnish

Heat 2 quarts water to boiling, reduce heat, and add salt, lemon slices, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add fish and simmer, allowing 10 minutes per measured inch of thickness, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain, cool, then carefully remove bone and skin, keeping steaks intact. Serve in platter and cover with egg sauce. (For added flavor, mix some of the fish stock with the milk for the egg sauce.) Garnish with parsley and fresh dill.

Egg Sauce for Salmon

1 cup heated milk (or 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup fish stock)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

2 hard-boiled eggs (hard boil eggs: Cover eggs with water 1-inch submerged in sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit 17 minutes. Drain and cool eggs under running water)

Melt butter over low heat in heavy saucepan. Mix flour into the butter and cook slowly, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes until well blended. Gradually stir in hot milk. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick. Simmer 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 2 coarsely chopped hard-boiled eggs. Serve with poached salmon.

Serve salmon and egg sauce with peas and new potatoes cooked in boiling water in their skins. Cover with butter, salt and pepper, and chopped parsley. Fresh mint adds a nice flavor to the peas, too.