Cold Poached Salmon with Cumin Yogurt Sauce


A large salmon fillet is gently poached in water, wine, and aromatics then chilled and served with a creamy, flavor-packed yogurt sauce.

Overhead view of cold poached salmon with cumin yogurt sauce served on an earthenware platter and garnished with cucumber and lemon slices.

Julia Hartbeck

Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
8 to 10 servings

Chef and television personality Andrew Zimmern used this recipe in Boiling Water 101, a class he taught for 10 years at a school in Minnesota. He developed this recipe to teach a basic cooking skill — how to poach salmon — that also delivers complex flavors. It's an excellent touchstone for family meals or entertaining. The technique is simple: Gently simmer a salmon fillet in water seasoned with wine, onion, celery, peppercorns, and parsley, then let it sit on a platter to finish cooking. He serves the salmon chilled with sliced cucumber, sliced lemon, and a delicious yogurt sauce packed with herbs, capers, and a healthy amount of ground cumin.



  • 3 cups dry white wine

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 3 celery ribs, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

  • 3 parsley sprigs

  • 1 (3-pound) fillet fatty salmon, pin bones removed

  • 6 thin lemon slices, for garnish

  • 12 thin cucumber slices, for garnish

Cumin yogurt sauce

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt

  • 1/3 cup cucumber, seeded and finely diced

  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 3 tablespoons capers, minced

  • 3 tablespoons minced cilantro

  • 3 tablespoons minced dill

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground white pepper


Prepare the salmon

  1. Overhead view of all the ingredients needed to make cold poached salmon with cumin yogurt sauce.

    Julia Hartbeck

    Gather your ingredients.

  2. All of the ingredients for the poaching liquid mixture are added to a pot.

    Julia Hartbeck

    In a fish poacher or a pot large enough to hold the salmon, combine the wine, onion, celery, peppercorns, and parsley.

  3. The submerged salmon is gently cooked in the poaching liquid.

    Julia Hartbeck

    Add 3 inches of water and bring to a boil. Add the salmon fillet (it should be fully submerged) and bring the water to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently over low heat until the salmon is just cooked through, about 8 to 9 minutes.

Make the yogurt sauce

  1. Overhead view of a bowl of cumin yogurt sauce, freshly mixed.

    Julia Hartbeck

    In a medium bowl, combine all of the cumin yogurt sauce ingredients and mix well.

  2. Overhead view of the poached salmon placed on a black platter to finish cooking.

    Julia Hartbeck

    Using two spatulas, carefully transfer the salmon fillet to a large platter. Dab off any white bits and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cool.

  3. Overhead view of the finished salmon on a serving platter, garnished with cucumber and lemon slices, flanked by the cumin-yogurt sauce.

    Julia Hartbeck

    Garnish salmon with the lemon and cucumber slices and serve with the cumin yogurt sauce.

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