I got this huge and expensive slab of King salmon at our favorite fish market in the Mission the other day. I wanted to try my hand at poaching salmon in court bouillon. Recipes for court bouillon abound! In the end what I realized is that this is just a clear broth. You can basically make with any vegetable you find in your refrigerator, plus some acidic agent, such as white wine or lemon juice. You don’t have to go all Julia Child about it and spend the entire day slaving in the kitchen, though that is fine, too. In my case I used what was at hand for a fairly traditional broth, with the addition of a stalk of lemon grass, which gave this broth a bit of a South East Asian flare.
poached King salmon in lemon butter sauce
3 ½ lb slab king salmon, skin on but de-scaled
for court bouillon:
½ cups dry white wine
1 whole scallion
1 stalk of lemon grass, smashed with a cleaver
Black pepper corns
1 stalk of celery
Few strands of parsley
1 piece of fennel stalk
for lemon butter sauce:
1 stick butter
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tbsp capers
4 tbsp chives chopped
Fill a pot with enough water to cover the salmon. Add all court bouillon ingredients to it, bring to a boil, reduce temperature and simmer for about 30 minutes. Discard vegetables. Let court bouillon cool down.
Lay salmon, skin-down, in a large pan so that it lies flat. Submerge with cooled court bouillon. Bring to a simmer and cook until done, about 10 to 15 minutes. If you choose to cut the salmon into smaller pieces before poaching, it may take as little as 3-5 minutes.
Using a large spatula carefully remove salmon from bath and place it on a serving platter. Keep warm.
Add butter and lemon juice to a saucepan on medium-high. Whisk until melted, remove from heat and add capers and 3 tbsp of chives. Mix well.
Sprinkle remaining chives over salmon and serve with lemon butter on the side.
Remember to keep the leftover broth and use it as a base for other soups. It is very aromatic.
On the night I served this, we had our friends Amie, Whitney, John, Chris and Valéria over for dinner. Amie and Whitney surprised us with a nice card, gift, some fruit tarts and a vegan chocolate cake celebrating our 3rd year wedding anniversary. It was a fun evening!