Poached salmon with dill sauce is one of the simplest, most delicious salmon recipes you can make. It’s quick, easy, goes from pan to plate and can be served chilled or warm. Why poach instead of oven-bake? It depends on whether you plan to finish all of it at once. I’ve found that poached salmon stays succulent and flavorful after refrigeration, and baked salmon tends to get a little mealy and doesn’t reheat as well.
The key to flavorful poached salmon is flavorful poaching liquid. I use a combination of white wine and chicken stock flavored with a little onion, garlic, lemon and dill because I find that simply using water saps flavor from the salmon. Lemon slices in the water help the salmon keep its shape and color, and zest adds a nice floral tartness that complements the fish’s richness.
Leftovers are perfect in a quiche, egg scramble, salad, sandwich or hot or cold pasta, and since you want there to be leftovers, poaching is the way to go. The dill sauce works on everything — drizzle it over chicken, vegetables, potatoes or rice or use it as a crudité dip. Go nuts!
For the dill sauce
- 1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
- 1 cup English or Persian cucumber, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped
- juice of half a lemon
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
For the salmon
- 1/2 lemon, zested and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock (or more if needed)
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1/2 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- A small pinch of kosher salt
- 2-3 sprigs fresh dill
- 2-3 thin slices red onion
- 2 6- to 8-ounce fillets salmon
For the sauce
Mix all sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use. Sauce will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.
For the salmon
In a large pan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the wine, stock, lemon slices and zest, garlic, peppercorns, salt, dill and onion. You want there to be enough liquid so that the salmon is half-submerged, so add more chicken stock if you think you'll need it.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Gently lower in the salmon fillets and cover with the lid.
Poach the salmon for about 8 minutes until opaque (10 for larger fillets), then remove from heat, uncover and allow to sit in the liquid for another 5 minutes. Resting will help the fillets stay together when you remove them from the pan.
Carefully remove fillets from pan and serve immediately with the dill sauce, or continue cooling until they can be refrigerated.