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Poached Salmon with No-Fail Hollandaise

Andrew Zimmern's Kitchen Adventures

Everyone needs an easy, simple and elegant meal that provides great leftovers (think salmon salad, salmon cakes, salmon aspic). No one poaches fish anymore, but it's the ultimate feed-a-crowd meal. Hot in cold months, cold in warm ones--I adore poached salmon. I was working in France many decades ago and was obsessed with making sauces "the right way." When I was a stagier at Alain Senderens's L'Archestrate restaurant in Paris, a line cook made this awesome liaison between egg and butter by whipping the yolks over heat and then adding cool butter. I had never seen it before. It's easy, it holds well and it's a no-fail way to make a low-rent version of hollandaise sauce. And yes, even though I add minced tarragon to this dish, I still call it hollandaise.--Andrew Zimmern

slideshow Salmon Recipes

slideshow Affordable Recipes for a Crowd

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6

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  • Six 6-ounce, center-cut, skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 rib of celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • Salt
hollandaise sauce
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped tarragon, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • Salt


  1. Prepare the salmon

    Bring a pot of water to a boil. Arrange the salmon fillets in a deep skillet in a single layer. Add the wine, celery, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns and enough of the boiling water to fully cover the salmon. Cook over moderate heat at a bare simmer until the salmon is just firm, about 10 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a platter and pat dry. Sprinkle lightly with salt.

  2. Meanwhile, make the hollandaise

    In a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks with the water, lemon juice, mustard, chopped tarragon and cayenne until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the butter, whisking constantly until fully incorporated, about 5 minutes. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in warm water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until the sauce is just pourable. Season with salt.

  3. Spoon the hollandaise over the salmon fillets, garnish with tarragon leaves and serve.

Contributed By Photo © Stephanie Meyer

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