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Lior Lev Sercarz, from "Mastering Spice" by Lior Lev Sercarz
Finely grind together the garlic, basil, peppercorns, and fennel.
Extra-virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, thinly sliced crosswise (about 1 cup)
4 (1-inch-thick) skin-on boneless salmon fillets (4 to 5 ounces each)
1⁄2 lemon, scrubbed, seeded, and finely diced (with its peel)
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
To make the poached salmon: Heat a large saucepan, preferably 8 to 10 inches in diameter and at least 5 inches deep, over medium-low heat. Add enough oil to lightly coat the bottom (2 to 3 tablespoons). Add the shallots, 2 pinches of the spice blend, and a pinch of salt. Stir to evenly coat the shallots with the spices and cover. Cook the shallots, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle the remaining spice blend all over the salmon and set aside.
Add the lemon to the pan, stir well, and add the wine. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Season to taste with salt. Simmer until the wine has reduced by a third, about 3 minutes. Add 11⁄2 cups water and season to taste with salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to maintain a steady and low simmer.
Season the salmon with salt, then nestle the fillets in the simmering liquid, skin-side up, in a single layer. The liquid should just cover the salmon skin. If it doesn’t, add a little more water.
Poach until the salmon is opaque on the outside and barely cooked in the center, about 5 minutes. If you insert a cake tester or thin-bladed paring knife into the center, it should start by sliding through easily, then meet a little resistance. Transfer the salmon to individual serving dishes, peel off and discard the skin, and turn the salmon right-side up. Spoon the shallots and lemon all around.
Bring the poaching liquid to a boil and cook until it is reduced by a quarter, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in a tablespoon of olive oil. Season to taste with salt. Spoon some liquid over the salmon and serve the remainder on the side.