How to Poach Fish

Sarah MickeyAll Recipes, Culinary Tips & Techniques, Fish Fillet Recipes, Salmon Recipes, Seafood Recipes, Seafood Tips & Techniques Leave a Comment


Poaching is a gentle, low-fat cooking technique popular with restaurants looking to create mild, moist, and healthy fish dishes.  This method can be used with any fish fillets, including Pacific Halibut fillets (pictured), Pacific snapper fillets, and Mahi Mahi fillets.

The other benefit of using this technique is that you are only a few short steps away from a delicious, sweet sauce when you’re done.

6 oz of fish per person
1 oz fennel bulb (~ 1/5th of a bulb) chopped into sticks
1 tsp cracked fennel seed
1 tsp cracked coriander
8 scallions per steak (trimmed but left long)
Tellicherry pepper, lemon juice, and salt to taste
½ bay leaf
1 tablespoon of butter
Fish fumet to almost cover
Finishing salt (optional, but recommended as poached fish can be pale)

(Pacific Halibut shown, served with Pan Fried Rice Cakes)

Poaching the Fish:
1.  In a steep sided pot or pan make a bed with the fennel bulb, chives, and spices.

2.  Put the fish on top and surround it with the fish fumet.


3.  Bring the fumet to a simmer.

4.  Cover and move to 450 degree oven.

5.  After a few minutes, flip the fish.

6.  Once the fish has cooked through (and is opaque), remove the fish and keep it warm.

Making the Sauce:
1.  Season the resulting broth with lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

2.  Reduce the broth a little bit to concentrate the flavors.

3.  Remove the pot from the heat and swirl in the butter.


Serve the fish with a rice cake (bamboo rice cake depicted), lentils, or rice pilaf, the fish fumet sauce, and some of the scallions.  For added color on the plate and flavor, consider dusting the halibut lightly with a finishing salt (Hawaiian black sea salt depicted).


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