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Poached Salmon Steaks with Creamy Dill Sauce

You can't get much more basic than poaching; cooking the salmon in a packet in salted water with lemon and peppercorns gives you moist, healthy results.

  • Servings: 4

Source: Martha Stewart Living, May 2004


  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2 juiced halves reserved)
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
  • 4 salmon steaks (each 3/4 inch thick)
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill plus 8 sprigs, plus more sprigs for garnish
  • 8 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup snipped fresh chives
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Bring 6 quarts water, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, lemon halves, 1 tablespoon salt, and the peppercorns to a boil in a large, wide pot. Reduce heat; let simmer.

  2. Season two salmon steaks with salt. Place one-quarter each of the fennel and onion and 2 sprigs each dill and parsley on a long sheet of parchment; top with salted steaks, one-quarter each fennel and onion, and 2 sprigs each dill and parsley. Fold parchment to make a packet. Repeat process to make another packet.

  3. With kitchen twine, tie one packet to a wire rack; place in pot. Cover; poach until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

  4. Use tongs and a spatula to transfer rack to a rimmed baking sheet. Carefully open packet. Remove skin and any brown fat; discard. Transfer fish to a platter, discarding vegetables; cover. Cook other packet. Reserve 1 tablespoon cooking liquid.

  5. Whisk mayonnaise, sour cream, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and cooking liquid in a bowl. Stir in chopped dill and chives; season with salt and pepper. Garnish salmon with dill sprigs; serve with sauce.

Cook's Notes

Make the fish to eat tonight, or cook it today to enjoy cold tomorrow. Add a salad and a vegetable, and you have an elegant, uncomplicated meal.

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