The Poached Fish DishJump to Recipe
Yesterday, I mentioned poached fish as one of the things that you can eat today and feel great tomorrow. You can check out the full list here.
You don’t hear much about poaching fish. In fact, when you hear about poaching most people probably think about eggs and brunch, but poaching is one of my favorite ways to cook fish. It keeps it light, only takes a few minutes, and you end up with this:
The idea behind poaching is very simple. Take a large skillet and add a few cups of water and/or wine and various flavorful additions. Then you bring that liquid to a slight simmer and put in whatever kind of fish you are poaching.
Poached sole is a really quick and fail safe way to cook the fish. Serve it plain or fancy it up with a caper butter sauce.
Lemon Caper Sauce:
1) Add shallots, garlic, peppercorns, parsley, and bay leaf to a large skillet. Add lemon juice and lemon, white wine, and enough water to come about 2 inches up the pan.
2) Bring the skillet to a simmer over medium-high heat.
3) Turn heat down to low. Add sole filets and let them poach in the liquid for about 4 minutes per side.
4) In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon juice, and capers and microwave for 2 minutes on low.
5) Transfer fish using a spatula straight to plate from the poaching liquid. Serve fish with a carb of your choosing and the caper butter sauce.
But let’s start with those flavorful additions. Add these things to your largest skillet:
These ingredients are pretty flexible. If you don’t have shallots, you can use 1/4 cup of any onion. If you don’t have parsley, you can use cilantro or just leave it out although it does lend good flavor. The peppercorns and garlic are pretty essential.
Then add the juice from a whole lemon. After you juice it throw in the lemon itself, cut up. If you have some white wine around, add 1/2 cup of it and then fill the skillet with water until it is about 1.5-2 inches deep. You want the liquid to just cover your fish ultimately.
I didn’t have any white wine around so I left it out. My dish was still excellent.
Put your skillet on medium heat and bring the liquid to a boil.
Now that it is boiling turn your burner down to low. You want the water to barely be bubbling at all. If you put your fish it while it is boiling the bubbles will tear your fish apart and you will end up with some sort of weird fish mush soup. Not good food.
I used two fillets of sole for this meal because they are very light and take up flavor easily. They are also pretty economical.
These do not take a long time to cook. I put my fish in for about 4 minutes and then carefully turned them to make sure they were even on both sides. A few minutes on the other side and you are done.
While they are cooking, if you want, put together three tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons of capers. Microwave that on low for a 2 minutes or until the butter is melted and you have a simple caper butter sauce.
Using a spatula, transfer your fish straight to your plate. Don’t worry about any extra liquid. It is just a little flavor – it won’t kill you. One thing to check for though is that you don’t have any lingering peppercorns stuck to the fish. Turns out that capers and peppercorns look quite similar and it can be a bit shocking to bite into a corn. Trust me. I know.
I would recommend serving the fish with a light carb. I chose couscous, but rice would also be cool. Steamed carrots rounded out my dinner.
Hello! My name is Nick Evans and I write and manage Macheesmo. I started Macheesmo 11 years ago when I was just learning my way around the kitchen. I love to cook and love everything food-related, but I have no formal training. These days I focus on fast, accessible recipes with the occasional “reach” recipe!
I’ve posted almost 2,000 recipes on Macheesmo. For each one, I do my best to give full explanations of what I did and tips on what I’d do differently next time. I’ll bring up the tricky parts and the easy parts.
I hope you can find something and cook something!