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Nyonya Delicacies

Poaching Fish Steaks and Fillets

(Newsletter Issue #016)


How to Poach Fish Steaks and Fillets

Fish steaks and fillets, small whole fish and shellfish such as scallops, shrimp, crayfish and lobsters can all be poached. One of the best ways to cook a fish steak or fillet is ŕ la nage, which means that the fish is served surrounded with court bouillon and the vegetables used to make the court bouillon. The poaching liquid serves as a light, delicate, fat-free sauce that allows you to taste all the subtle flavor of the fish. Because the poaching liquid is served with its vegetables, the vegetables are cut into pretty, presentable shapes and often julienne.

Kitchen notes

  • Poach fish steaks or fillets for 7 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Start checking for doneness after cooking for about 7 minutes per inch by feeling the fish's texture or by making a small cut into the center of the thickest part of the steak or fillet.

  • Poach in court bouillon, or for simplicity, in salted water flavored with white wine and a bouquet garni.

  • Use a sauté pan or other pan large enough to hold the fish in a single layer.

  • Bring the poaching liquid to a simmer before adding fish steaks or fillets.

Poached Salmon Medallions

To bone and tie a salmon steak into a medallion

1. Pull any pin bones out of the salmon steaks with a small pair of pliers. Slide a paring knife along the inside of the bones lining the stomach flaps.
2. Cut along the small bones running up toward the back of the salmon steak. Cut all the way to the back of the steak up to, but not through, the skin.
3. Repeat on the other side of the steak so that the central bone is completely separately from the two halves of the steak.
4. Carefully cut off 2 inches of the skin that wraps around one of the stomach flaps and fold the flap up in toward the center of the steak.
5. Wrap the remaining stomach flap around the outside of the steak and tie into a round or medallion with string.

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