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All About

Poach

Poaching is cooking foods completely submerged in simmering liquid. Poached foods are usually naturally tender. Some of Martha's favorite foods to poach are salmon steaks, chicken breasts, eggs, pears, and shrimp. The key to flavorful results is the poaching liquid. Almost any liquid can be used. Court bouillon is a typical savory poaching liquid made by simmering aromatic vegetables and herbs in water. Other common poaching liquids include stocks or broths for poultry, water for eggs, and red wine or light-sugar syrups for fruit.

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A mingling of green tea and grapefruit zest transforms Bosc pears into an intriguing, health-ful dessert. The tea is steeped separately, before the sliced fruit is added. The tender, cooked pears can rest in the liquid for hours, absorbing additional flavor before serving.

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Fennel, lemon, herbs, and white wine create a flavorful broth, often referred to as court-bouillon, for poaching halibut. To maintain a clear cooking liquid, the aromatics are bundled between a halved leek. A slotted spatula or two eases the transfer of the finished fillets to a plate. A spoon-ful of broth can double as a finishing sauce.

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recipe

The basic curry powder used to flavor this easy-to-make Indian-spiced halibut dish is enhanced by bittersweet fenugreek seed, mustard, cardamom, and cloves; brown sugar diminishes the heat. Just before serving, mild yogurt is added to temper the intensity of the spices further.

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Poaching is a simple way to transform the humble egg into a luxurious treat. Once you get this technique down pat, you can enjoy poached eggs for an easy breakfast, a satisfying lunch, or a light dinner -- you can even make them in advance. Just follow our basic steps and you'll turn out excellent results every time.

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Chef Camille Becerra poaches her eggs in a deep pot because they take on a teardrop shape when they plunge into the water. She uses mixes of grains, vegetables, and greens when serving this bowl at Navy, but you can use just one variety of each component. (It's a great way to use leftovers.) She also varies the savory yogurt, swapping out the sumac used here with a mix of mild spices or herbs, such as fresh dill or flat-leaf parsley, ground fennel or coriander seed, or a combination.