Whole Poached Salmon with Sauce Verte

  • Active Time 25m
  • Total Time 13h 55m

Serves 15

You can use smaller Coho salmon to make this dish, if you like; they usually weigh about three pounds. Just be sure to adjust the amount of the court bouillon and the sauce verte as well.


  • For the Salmon:
  • 1 whole unscaled salmon (about 6 pounds), wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with string
  • 12 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt
  • 3 carrots (1/2 pound total), sliced thin
  • 1 large leek (about 1/2 pound), sliced thin
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach (about 5 ounces), trimmed and washed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 cups canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar
  • Fresh fine-ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon or basil
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and chopped


FOR THE SALMON: Choose a pot big enough to hold the fish and fit it with a rack. Set the salmon on the rack. Add the water, salt, vegetables, and herbs. Do not add the wine. Over medium heat, bring the court bouillon to just below simmering (180 degrees F). Keep it at this temperature until the salmon reaches 130 degrees F at its thickest point, about 30 min. Transfer the salmon to a large plate or tray. Add the wine to the court bouillon and let cool to tepid. Return the salmon to the cooled court bouillon and refrigerate overnight.

FOR THE SAUCE: In a large pot of boiling water, cook the spinach for 2 min. Drain and rinse the spinach with cold water. Squeeze the leaves to remove as much water as possible and chop the spinach very fine.

Put the egg yolks in a 1 quart bowl and whisk to combine. Whisk in the oil very slowly in droplets, until the mixture begins to thicken. Add the remaining oil in a thin stream until it’s well incorporated into the yolks. Add the salt, vinegar, and pepper to taste. Whisk in the spinach, herbs, and capers. The sauce should be soft but firm enough to hold its shape on the plate. If it’s too thick, whisk in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thinned. Refrigerate the sauce verte at least 1 hour so the flavors can develop.

Remove the fish from the cold court bouillon and set it on a large plate or tray. Remove the cheesecloth and reserve it with the court bouillon. Remove the skin. You may do this well ahead of time. If so, moisten the cheesecloth with the court bouillon and cover the fish. Discard the court bouillon.

TO SERVE: Transfer the salmon to a large platter. Garnish with sprigs of watercress (or some of the same herbs used in the sauce verte) and slices of lemon.

Recipe reprinted by permission of <I>Fine Cooking<. All rights reserved.

RecID 3160

nutrition information per serving

537 calories; 40g total fat; 112mg cholesterol; 1822mg sodium; 5g carbohydrates; 1g fiber; 31g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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