The simplest dishes can remind you of home. And nothing says home to me like seafood. Seafood is one of the quickest, healthiest, and easiest dish you can prepare. It is my go to when I want something light, fresh and that looks elegant.
I’ve cooked a lot of Seafood over the years. But fish is my favorite item from the sea kingdom. I haven’t yet come across a fish I didn’t like. Okay. . . maybe sardines. But that’s only because as a child, my father would prepare it so often, I think I just had my fill of it.
There are a lot of ways to prepare fish. You can fry it, grill it, pan sear it, broil it or even cure it to make ceviche. But for this recipe I decided to poach it!
This poached fish recipe works best with a firm white meaty fish like cod, sea bass, grouper (Caribbean), halibut or snapper. I’ve seen a few recipes that used salmon. As long as the filet is about an inch thick, any filet should work. I used halibut because that was what I found freshest at the market.
There are a few ways to poach fish. You can use oil, water or wine. I’ve found that the use of oil is a less harsh process. It gives you a much more moist and tender finish without overcooking.
Initially I was concerned about the absorption of the oil. Then I remembered in order for oil to penetrate the fish, moisture must exist first. Hmmm, I’m no scientist, but when water repels oil and vise versa, that then means, very little oil can be absorbed. So all the juiciness stays in.
Now the process of poaching goes two ways; you can either poach on the stove top or in an oven. Poaching in an oven ensures a more evenly cooked fish. But at the end of the day, it’s up to you. So here we go!
- 4 skinless white fish fillets, 1 inch thick (6oz)
- Sea salt
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- stick lemongrass
- ½ onion, peeled
- 8 cherry tomatoes, diced
- half zucchini, diced
- ½ shallot, diced
- 4 ounces cherry tomatoes
- ½ small shallot, peeled
- 4 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- Kosher salt
- ½teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat to the oven to 250° F. Pat dry the fish, season with salt and allow to rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes
- Heat a ½ cup of olive oil in a large nonstick pan. Add half the shallot and garlic to pan and cook until golden. Remove from heat and strain. Don’t worry if it burns a bit. It will be used in the sauce. Place on paper towel and salt.
- Return strained oil to pan and add remaining oil. Place a half large onion in the center of the pan. Add in the lemongrass. Allow the lemongrass and onion to infuse the oil about 5 minutes or until oil register at 180°.
- On a sheet of parchment paper, add diced zucchini, diced tomatoes and remaining shallot. Season with salt and white pepper. Add a small dab of butter and close creating a pouch. Set aside.
- Remove lemongrass from the pan. Gently arrange fish around the centered onion. Spoon oil over each piece. Cover pan and transfer to the middle rack of the oven. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from over, gently turn fish over. Return pan to oven and cook for an additional 12 to 15 minutes. Add the pouch with veggies on the lower rack of the over the same time.
- Remove pan from oven, carefully remove fish from pan and place either in the center or side of your serving dish/platter. Reserve the oil from the pan. Remove veggie pouch from oven
- Prepare the sauce. In a blender of food processor, add tomatoes, sherry vinegar, the previously set aside garlic and shallot and blend for 3 minutes. Add a bit of the fish oil from the pan, season with salt and pepper to taste and blend a few seconds more. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids.
- To plate, pour the sauce around the fish, place the vegetables from the pouch atop of the fish. Garnish with parsley and serve with your favorite side.
I normally always peer a white fish with a bright color vegetables for the contrast of colors. Today I used asparagus with a thinly sliced bacon wrap. Any veggie will do really.
It was hard for me to take this photo without breaking off a piece to taste. Sorry but I really, really love fish.