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Poached King Salmon with Cucumber Beurre Blanc

Yield 10 servings
Ask for a small king salmon at your fish market. If what's available is too large, use 10 (6 to 8 ounce) fillets and omit the head and tail for the poaching liquid.


  • 1 (15- to 18-pound) whole king salmon, dressed
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 3/4 cups dry white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 1 bunch parsley stems
  • 1 small onion, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 head fennel, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cucumber Beurre Blanc
  • Peeled, chopped cucumber

How to Make It

  1. Cut head and tail from salmon; set aside.

  2. Cut salmon in half lengthwise; remove pin bones with tweezers or needle-nose pliers. Slice crosswise into 2-inch pieces; cover and set aside.

  3. Place head and tail in a 4-quart saucepan. Cover with 5 cups water; add wine and next 6 ingredients. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Pour mixture through wire-mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding solids. Return liquid to pan. Stir salt into liquid.

  4. Pour liquid into a fish poacher*; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer gently. Arrange fish on poacher insert, and place in liquid. Simmer 10 minutes; remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes.

  5. Remove salmon, and place on serving plates. Top with Cucumber Beurre Blanc and chopped cucumber. Serve with steamed fresh vegetables.

  6. *If you don't have a fish poacher, use a roasting pan large enough to hold the salmon in a single layer. Place salmon in gently simmering water with a metal spatula.