Cooking method where food is immersed in hot water or other flavored liquid, such as stock. Oil is also used for some poaching techniques. Poaching is a common way of cooking naturally tender cuts like eggs, fruit, vegetables and fish. When poaching it is important to keep the water from boiling as the turbulance that creates will tear apart more delicate foods.
Professional chefs use two related but distinctly different poaching methods:shallow and deep poaching.
Shallow poaching is used for delicate and naturally tender cuts of meats, fish, vegetables. Shallow poaching is commonly done in a shallow pan (sauteuse) and requires a cover to retain the heat.Commonly the cover is a parchment circle cut to fit the pan called a cartouche. In shallow poaching technique the items cooked are partially submerged in the cooking liquid. the liquid that results from the cooking (called cuisson) is highly flavorful and frequently used to make a finished sauce. A classic example is shallow poached sole vin blanc.
Deep poaching is accomplished at varying temperature ranges depending on the items being cooked and their size. Temperatures range from a starting point of 140F to about 210F. Food cooked above this range fall into the boiling category. Commonly foods are deep poached at/around 160-180F. Deep poached technique varies from shallow poached in that the foods cooked are fully submerged in the cooking liquid at all times. The cooking liquid is commonly a court bouillon that is acidified and salted; the cooking liquid is not generally used after cooking is complete.