Poached Salmon with Corn and White Wine-Butter Sauce


Poaching fish in wine is an easy way to infuse it with subtle flavor. Since some of the seasoning washes off, Kristin Donnelly likes to serve it with a sprinkling of coarse salt.

Poached Salmon with Corn and White Wine–Butter Sauce
Photo: © Frances Janisch
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs


  • 4 medium zucchini (1 1/2 pounds), coarsely shredded

  • Salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 medium shallots—2 finely chopped, 1 halved

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 3/4 cups dry white wine

  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels

  • 2 lemon thyme sprigs

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Four 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets

  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons

  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced basil leaves


  1. Set a colander over a bowl. Add the zucchini to the colander and toss with 1 teaspoon of salt. Let stand for 20 minutes. Squeeze the zucchini dry.

  2. In a large, nonreactive skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Stir in the corn and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook until the corn is tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, cover and keep warm.

  3. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, combine 2 cups of the wine with the thyme, bay leaf, the halved shallot and 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Season the salmon with salt, add the fillets to the saucepan and cook at a bare simmer over low heat, turning once, about 6 minutes. Transfer the salmon to a plate and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the poaching liquid.

  4. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of wine to the saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Season with salt. Stir the basil into the vegetables and transfer to plates. Nestle the salmon into the vegetables, top with the butter sauce and serve.

Suggested Pairing

This goes well with an apple-scented, unoaked Chardonnay.

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