Gluten Free Poached Salmon

Gluten Free Poached Salmon

Dreamy Poached Salmon

Do you ever go to bed thinking about the dinner you’ll be having the next day? Yeah, me neither.  I mean, I go to bed thinking about coffee and I wake up thinking about wine because I’m certain about what I’ll be drinking, but I never really know what I’ll be eating that far in advance. (I’m working on this as I see it as a failing of some kind)


I know people who make weekly meal plans – they have binders, they keep notes. In an effort to minimize picky eating and mealtime complaints, my girlfriend used to write the week’s menu on a chalkboard in the kitchen so the kids would be prepared to eat what was being served.  A good idea, but not one I could ever execute. I’m just not that together. But last night, I went to bed looking forward to my dinner tonight. I’m not totally disorganized.  Just 6 days out of 7.

This is a truly perfect summer meal, and one you can prepare the night before.  In fact, I recommend this approach when the temperatures aren’t so high and the salmon can sit cooling on the counter while you watch the evening news.  Then pop it in the fridge before you go to bed and all you have to do the next day is wash the lettuce and make some salad dressing.

I take my poaching lesson from Thomas Keller, the chef famous for French Laundry, the great Californian restaurant. This comes from his Ad Hoc At Home cook book (the recipes he makes for his family at home). His French Laundry cookbook was notoriously difficult to work from, but no worries here.  This poached salmon is quite easy to execute and if you know me, you know I like easy.  But I also like to show off a bit.

Gluten Free Poached Salmon


  • salmon cut to serve
  • dill to garnish
  • 4 leeks (white and light green parts only) split lengthwise, washed well and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 4 large carrots
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped onions
  • 2 medium fennel bulbs, trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 quarts of water
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 lemons washed and halved
  • *bay leaf
  • *3 thyme sprigs
  • *10 black pepper corns
  • *1 garlic clove smashed and peeled
  • * In Ad Hoc, Keller suggests that these ingredients be placed into a cheese cloth, I just throw them all into the liquid


Add everything but the vinegar, wine and lemon to water in a large stock pot, bring to a boil.

Reduce to a simmer then add wine, vinegar and squeeze lemon juice then throw the whole lemons into the pot.

Return to a simmer.

Strain the stock into a sauce pan reserve vegetables and heat over medium-high heat.

I don’t have a fish poacher, so I used my roasting pan (as Keller suggests).

Place a rack on the bottom of the roasting pan and then the salmon in skin side down.

Add enough stock to cover the fish completely.

If space allows add some of the reserved vegetables.

I always make sure a lemon fits in there too.

Set the pan over medium high heat.

Remove from the heat after about 10 minutes.

Allow the fish to cool in the liquid then refrigerate in the liquid for up to one day.

Remove salmon carefully from liquid. I like to serve it with salad and garnish it with dill.

Full disclosure, my children refuse to eat the poached salmon unless I add mayonnaise and put it in a roll up. Regardless, it is still good for them and it is a summer staple around here. Play with different dressings and salad combinations and you’ll never get bored.

This particular salad has kalamata olives, purple onion, left over grilled asparagus from the night before, (we intentionally made extra for the salad) and boiled new potatoes. I boiled potatoes in the morning while getting everyone ready for the day so all that will be required tonight is the assembly!

As for the vinagrette, I make a very basic dressing:  extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Chef Amanda provided a great guide to making vinaigrettes. Experiment a little. It all depends on what you like.

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