Kitchen Secrets: How to Poach Fish Like a Pro

July 14, 2014

Poaching is often overlooked in home kitchens as a way to cook meals. We bake, roast, sauté, fry, slow cook, but how often do you poach, say, fish? Poaching is a quick and easy way to create healthy meals as there’s no fat involved, just a flavorful broth known as a court bouillon (often as simple as water and some veggies and herbs), and a few minutes of your time. A court bouillon (French for “short broth”) is a flavored liquid typically consisting of water, stock or wine, aromatics (such as carrots, onion, celery, leeks), herbs, and salt and pepper. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just a few simply ingredients can make a world of difference in taste.

In this video, Chef de Cuisine Kerry Roach from BOKA in Seattle shows us how to poach halibut and prawns in a beautiful saffron court bouillon. This dish literally took minutes to make and the result was gorgeously tender and delicious halibut and prawns. Her saffron court bouillon consisted of the following (add as much or as little of each to please your own palate):

Water (enough to cover the fish)
Dry sherry
Flat leaf parsley
Saffron, a couple of pinches
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2-3 bay leaves

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Video Transcription

Hi I’m Kerry, Chef de Cuisine at Boka in downtown Seattle. Now we are going to be preparing a court-bouillon to poach fish. Basically going to add a little bit of water, enough to submerge your fish once you put it in there. Some wine, in this case I’m using sherry. Then a little celery, lemon, some bay leaf, a little garlic. Of course you want salt. Some leeks, not quite as strong as onions. A little thyme and then I’m choosing to use saffron which gives it this great orange color. Once it starts to simmer I’m going to add halibut and we will go ahead and throw a few prawns in. So you are just going to slowly cook this until desired doneness. Your shrimp should turn pink when they are ready. And that is poached fish.