Poached Salmon with Vadouvan Almond Sauce
Serves 2 with extra sauce.
We love poached salmon — its delicacy seems perfect for spring — and Vadouvan’s bold and subtle flavors pair beautifully with it. If you’d rather bake, broil, or grill the fish, do so but keep the preparation simple.
The curried, almond-based sauce is a snap to make (no stove time!). It’s something like an aioli and you’ll be happy using leftovers atop grilled chicken or vegetables, in sandwiches or tuna salad, or as the base for a curried salad dressing. The sauce keeps in the fridge for about a week but will thicken some; simply whisk in a few drops of warm water to thin it.
½ pound wild salmon fillet
¾ teaspoon salt
5 cups water
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon fennel seed
1 bay leaf
1 slim celery stalk, cut in half
1 slice lemon, (about 1/8-inch thick)
Onion wedge (about 1/8 medium onion)
For the sauce:
6 tablespoons almond flour
6 tablespoons hot water
5 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil, such as canola or avocado
3 tablespoons white wine or rice vinegar
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons Vadouvan
½ garlic clove, grated
Minced fresh chives
Make the sauce You use either a regular blender or a stick blender.
In the blender Put the ingredients into the jar in the order that they’re given. Whip, starting on low speed and quickly ramping up to high, until the sauce thickens and is very smooth, 2–4 minutes.
With a immersion blender Put the ingredients into a container just wider than the blending head and with high sides. Whip on high speed keeping the blending head pressed against the bottom of the container for the first couple of minutes. As the sauce becomes smooth and a little thicker, you can lift the head from the bottom. Process until the sauce thickens and is very smooth, 3–5 minutes. Set aside.
Cook the salmon Rinse the salmon and pat it dry. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of the salt over the fish. Set a cooling rack over a rimmed plate. Set both aside.
Set a heavy pan (wide enough to accommodate the fish) over medium-high heat. Add the water, spices, celery, lemon, onion, and remaining salt; cover the pan and bring the water to a boil. Take the pan off the heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and return the pan to the burner. The water should be hot, almost ready to boil, but not bubbling (about 195° F).
Use a spatula to slip the fish into the water; cook until its almost done (about 125° F in the thickest part of the fillet). Use the spatula to transfer the fish to the cooling rack to drain for a moment. Cooking time varies with the thickness of the fillet.
Serve Top the salmon with ample sauce and garnish with chives.