Sunday, July 15, 2012

Poached Arctic Char and Spicy Tahini Cucumber Avocado Salad

Poaching. What a beautiful method for cooking fish. I've only recently really started playing with poaching salmon and the like, but I have to say it may be my favorite method of cooking fish. No threat of dry fish, obscenely easy to clean up, and almost fool-proof, it's really an underused method in my house. No more!

So with poaching on the mind, I headed to the grocery store intent on salmon. However, when I arrived I discovered I either had the choice of farmed salmon (ick, no thanks) or paying $25/lb for wild caught salmon. Cringing at the thought of paying that much for salmon, I scoped out other options. Then I saw the arctic char. Now, I've never, ever made arctic char. But the fillet looked similar to salmon. And it was $10 cheaper per pound than the wild salmon. So, I decided to gamble on the arctic char. And I'm glad that I did. A bit "fishier" than salmon, it's like a mix between trout and salmon. And it poached beautifully.

In addition to my desire for fish, I really wanted an avocado salad. So I figured pairing creamy avocado with crunchy cucumbers and topping it all off with a spicy tahini based dressing would do the trick. And do indeed. The salad kept well for days (good for leftovers) and was filling while making me think "I done picked some healthy recipe."

If you have leftovers (and who doesn't love leftovers), I'd say that having the char cold, rather than reheating, it an excellent options. Cold poached char is delicious.

I just wanted to share this picture of the wine I used. Because I thought it was hilarious.


1 lb arctic char or salmon
salt and pepper
1 C dry white wine
7 cups water (this depends on how big your pan is. Basically you want enough water so that it just covers the fish)
1 lemon
3 T fresh taragon (or you could use thyme, alternatively)
1 large shallot
2 cucumbers
2 avocados
1 jalapeno
4 T tahini
1/3 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 C olive oil
1/3 C water
1 t sriracha
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 t each)

Chop the cucumber into about 1/2" size pieces. Cut the avocado into about the same size (this is a good method: Remove the seeds from the jalapano and mince well. Set the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Combine the tahini through the sriracha.

Whisk well and add salt and pepper to taste.

Fold the dressing in with the other ingredients. Don't mix too too hard, or the avocado will turn to mush. Reserve the extra dressing (don't dump all of it in the salad, some is for the fish or for saving, you could save this dressing in a container for up to a week). Chill for at least 15 mins in the fridge if you can.

Check the fillets for any bones and remove before cooking. It's just easier. Cut the fillet in half so that it can fit in your pan. Or quarters if your pan is small. Use a good saucepan that's wide enough to accommodate the fishes and deep enough to cover them with liquid in a single layer (DO NOT LAYER ON TOP OF EACH OTHER! You can cook in batches if you need to). Season the fish with salt and pepper and let rest for at least 15 minutes. I'd use about 1/2 t salt and about 1/2 t pepper for the whole fish.

Slice the lemon into about 1/2" slices. Slice the shallot as well. Don't chop either of them, they should still be kinda in tact.
Combine the wine, water, lemon slices, shallot slices and fresh tarragon in your pan.

Heat on medium high heat until it is at a high simmer (not boiling, just like little bubbles).
Submerge the fish skin side DOWN. You want the fish to be barely covered in liquid.

Let cook for 8-9 minutes in the liquid. If the top seems to not be cooking enough, you can just spoon liquid onto it. That's what I do when I want it to cook faster.

Remove. Done. It should still be a little pink in the middle but raw.

 Top with a bit of the tahini dressing and serve. Mmmm.

1 comment:

  1. This looks awesome! I shall try it tonight - thanks for sharing!