Olive Oil-Poached Salmon

By Joanne Weir

What a brilliant technique for cooking salmon! I first heard about oil poaching when I read Elizabeth David’s cookbooks and then again when I cooked at Chez Panisse. The salmon is cooked ever-so-slowly in fruity olive oil rendering a fully cooked, yet still pink-in-the-center salmon. To accentuate salmon’s natural sweetness, I like to sprinkle it with fleur de sel, a grayish-colored finishing salt from France, just before serving.

Serves six

2 pounds salmon fillet, cut from the middle of the fish, skinned and boned
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fleur de sel, optional
Lemon wedges as a garnish
Thyme sprigs as a garnish

Cut the salmon into 6 serving pieces. Place in a deep heavy skillet just large enough to hold the fish. Pour enough olive oil over the fish so that it is just submerged in oil. Place the pan over low heat and cook just until the oil feels warm but not hot (about 100°F). If white dots appear on the top of the fish during the cooking process, the oil is too hot. Cook until just done and still rosy in the Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until center, 18 to 22 minutes.

Place a piece of salmon on each plate. Sprinkle with fleur de sel. Garnish with lemon wedges and thyme sprigs.

© 2004 Weir Cooking in the City by Joanne Weir