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August 17, 2013

Fish Poached in Olive Oil

By Worker Bee
44 Comments

Fish Poached in Olive OilJust when you think you’ve cooked fish in every possible way, along comes an intriguing recipe like this one. This cooking method for seafood isn’t a new idea; the Italians and French have been doing it forever and many chefs today use it to keep fish moist while it cooks. But have you ever tried poaching fish in olive oil?

It’s nothing like deep-frying and a whole different thing than poaching in water. Why do it? The fish cooks quickly, with less of a chance of drying out and the flavor of the fish stays pure and mild without turning fishy or becoming bland. The flavor of fish poached in olive oil is not oily, although you should use olive oil that you like the flavor of.

You should also choose fish with firm flesh like halibut, cod, salmon or tuna (shrimp can also be poached). Poaching in oil work best with small pieces of fish, both because the fish will cook quickly and because it allows you to use less oil. The thicker the pieces of fish are and the bigger the pot is, the more oil you’re going to need. Try to keep each piece of fish around 3 ounces, or even less by cutting the fish into small cubes.

Place the fish in a small pot or skillet and cover with olive oil. You can also add sprigs of herbs or cloves of garlic. Although they don’t add a whole lot of flavor to the fish, they do make the oil taste great. Turn the heat to medium-low and no higher. During the entire cooking process, the oil should be warm but not burning hot. You should be able to dip your finger in the oil and it won’t burn.

A 3-ounce piece of fish will cook in about 5-8 minutes, maybe a little bit longer, depending on how thick it is. When it’s done, the flesh should be moist, supple and pretty much melt in your mouth. The oil won’t have a fishy flavor. It can be strained and re-used for cooking or better yet, use it immediately to dress a salad or drizzle onto vegetables that you serve with the fish.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

  • Pieces of boneless, skinless fish (pieces that weigh 3-ounce/85 gram or less work best)
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: sprigs of herbs like thyme and rosemary and peeled cloves of garlic cut in half

Instructions:

Place the fish in a small pot or skillet. Lightly season with salt. Cover completely with olive oil. Add herbs or garlic if you’d like.

Step 1

Set over medium-low heat. The oil should never get hot enough to boil and bubble, however, if bubbles start forming around the fish you’ll know it’s close or already done. Small chunks take around 5-8 minutes to cook. Tuna can take longer than other types of fish.

Step 2

So as not to waste oil, use as small a pot as possible and/or cut the fish into small pieces.

Fish Poached in Olive Oil

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44 Comments on "Fish Poached in Olive Oil"

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[…] Just when you think you’ve cooked fish in every possible way, along comes an intriguing recipe like this one. This …read more […]

Primal Headshrink
Primal Headshrink
3 years 1 month ago

Yummy! And if the oil doesnt really heat a lot, as not to get too acidic, you can even use it again in other dishes or even dressing a salad, it’s probably very tasty…

Primal Headshrink
Primal Headshrink
3 years 1 month ago

First!!!

Paleo-curious
3 years 1 month ago

Wow, you’re right, I’ve never tried this & it sounds very yummy. Reminds me of the way I learned to prepare potatoes for a Spanish tortilla (the egg dish, not the bread), which was very similar low-heat simmering. Sigh… I do miss tortillas (both sorts) but it is great to have a new way to prepare fish!

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[…] Daily Apple / Posted on: August 17, 2013Mark’s Daily Apple – Just when you think you’ve cooked fish in every possible way, along comes an intriguing […]

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 1 month ago

Poaching is a lovely cooking technique. Sous Vide makes poaching even easier because you can seal it any type of aioli and just “set and forget it”. The initial cost is high. Personally I do not have Sous Vide but I have experience with immersion circulators and they are a culinary cats meow.

“[An immersion circulator] It will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine” – Wayne form Wayne’s World as he looks at a Fender Strat.

Mantonat
Mantonat
3 years 1 month ago

Here’s a great technique that doesn’t require spending a ton of money: http://modernistcuisine.com/recipes/sous-vide-salmon-in-the-kitchen-sink/
Similar to oil-poaching, only the oil is in the baggie, so you don’t need to use as much. I also like how they pan-sear to finish for a little extra flavor. Of course, you could also skip the brine at the beginning of the recipe to save a little time.

A lot of people are afraid of eating fish cooked at low temps, but this article also addresses safety concerns.

Tom T.
3 years 1 month ago

This looks like another great way to prepare fish. I find myself constantly grilling or baking, glad to have another way to prepare seafood. Love the simplicity.

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
3 years 1 month ago

Give it a whirl! Next time you bake a fish, do one with a salt crust. Definitely an “A+” presentation.

2Rae
2Rae
3 years 1 month ago

I have some fish that just may be prepared like this for dinner tonight. Thank you Mark, as TomT, I too was getting bored with my normal way of preparing it. And thank you Paleo Bon Rurgundy for your suggestion – I look forward to your comments as well. However, I will not be preparing the fish with baby oil……

Mat
3 years 1 month ago

Looks good and it’s definitely a way I’ve never thought of cooking fish before.

Gabrielle
Gabrielle
3 years 1 month ago

Hallo there! I’m still relatively newer to all this blueprint shindwan and I realize that tofu is probably (VERY probably) not within the paleolithic diet. HOWEVER! I was wondering if any of you all have done anything similar with tofu; Do you think it’d taste VANDERBALL?

raydawg
raydawg
3 years 1 month ago

We have something better: cheese!

salixisme
3 years 1 month ago

Now I know what I am going to do with the salmon I have just purchased….

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[…] Just when you think you’ve cooked fish in every possible way, along comes an intriguing recipe like this one. This cooking method for seafood isn’t a new idea; the Italians and French have been doing it forever and many chefs today use it to keep fish moist while it cooks. But have you ever tried […]… Mark’s Daily Apple […]

Jacob Stevens
Jacob Stevens
3 years 1 month ago

Sounds like an interesting possibility, but the temperature mentioned, 200°F / 93°C “warm but not burning hot,” doesn’t make sense for me.

200°F / 93°C is just shy of boiling water at 212°F / 100°C. Isn’t that indeed gonna be “burning hot” for the recommended finger dipping test?

(“During the entire cooking process, the oil should be warm but not burning hot (less than or right at 200 °F/93 °C degrees). You should be able to dip your finger in the oil and it won’t burn.”)

salixisme
3 years 1 month ago

I did the fingerdipp test – and it was almost certainly a lower temp than 93C…. I worked on the feels hot (like a hot bath) temp… prob why my fish took longer to cook than in the gude..

But it did cook and was wonderful!

Brandon Berg
Brandon Berg
3 years 1 month ago

This was my thought, too. Water will produce severe burns at temperatures far below 200F, and oil seems like it would be worse since it sticks to the skin. Oil does have a lower specific heat, though, so maybe that mitigates the damage.

Shary
Shary
3 years 1 month ago

Sorry to be a wet blanket, but I’ve eaten fish cooked (poached?) in low-temperature oil. It absorbed too much of the fat and was very greasy, completely inedible.

salixisme
3 years 1 month ago
So I tried it for dinner… 6 salmon pieces. I cooked them in oil that was just bearable for me to put my finger in (just little bubbles around the edges of the fish). I added some garlic, thyme and basil stalks (I used basil in one of the side dishes and did not want to waste the stalks!)…. and I seasoned the fish with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper before adding the oil. It took a little longer to cook than in this guide – poss because my oil was not so hot, or most likely because… Read more »
JoanieL
JoanieL
3 years 1 month ago

Nice! I saw Paula Deen make lobster shooters by poaching the lobster in butter and fell in love with the idea.

Deanna
Deanna
3 years 1 month ago

I haven’t been eating a lot of fish recently because I’ve gotten bored with the same ol’ grilled or baked preparation, mostly because fish gets so dry so quickly. I might have to try this one. Plus, I like the idea of using herbs, since I have some growing that I haven’t made as much use of as I’d like.

David
3 years 1 month ago
I do something kind of similar, allow me to share here: I buy frozen fish packets of salmon (also cod and halibut – let’s go with salmon in this case) and i put a small amount of canola oil in a pan, not a lot, probably no more than a tablespoon, then heat it up. I place the salmon, skin-side down, on top of the oil, sprinkle my spices (I use cayenne, garlic powder and black pepper) then cover the pan and put on very low heat (gas burner, flame not even touching the bottom of the pan). I don’t… Read more »
Airi
3 years 1 month ago

Salon is one of the safe and healthy fish.. thanks

Airi
3 years 1 month ago

Sorry Salmon

Brian
Brian
3 years 1 month ago

A tip I picked up from Cook’s Illustrated magazine: Cut an onion in half horizontally and submerge in the pan. This displaces some oil so that you can use less overall.

Pip
Pip
2 years 5 months ago

Good tip Brian! I was slightly put off by the amount of oil this would use but you’ve saved the day!

Jonas Larsson
3 years 1 month ago

A great way to break the monotony

Grant
Grant
3 years 1 month ago

For more accurate temperature control, use an oven-proof dish or pot, set your oven to the desired temperature, and place the dish/pot/oil in the oven to pre-heat to the desired temperature.

Then pull it out, insert fish, and back in the oven until done. Save a lot of temperature management hassles.

eric
eric
3 years 1 month ago

Ah yes a reason to dust off my candy thermometer!

Lyla
3 years 1 month ago

As I’m from a family who loves to eat fish, this is a another great way of cooking fish in a healthy way. Simple fried and grilled way of cooking fish can get be so boring at times.

Mike
Mike
3 years 1 month ago

I had this in Spain (they used cod), served over caramelized onions. Amazing.

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Tina
Tina
3 years 1 month ago

This looks delicious; am looking forward to trying it!

Kathy
Kathy
3 years 1 month ago

Seems like a big waste of olive oil.

Primal Law
Primal Law
3 years 1 month ago

I was just scanning the articles and caught sight of this one, just so happened I was having Salmon this evening. Used my fav Chilli Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Fish came out beautiful, moist and flavoursome.

Bob Geary
Bob Geary
3 years 1 month ago

Cooks Illustrated magazine did an article about this recently, and they had a *really* good oil-saving tip – cut a big onion in half, and put one piece (or both, if they’ll fit) in the pan, cut-side down. This both flavors the oil AND means that you need less of it to poach the fish.

(They also recommended *not* submerging the fish in oil, but rather half-submerging it, basting the top occasionally, and flipping the filets mid-cook, if I’m remembering right.)

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[…] Fish Poached in Olive Oil   Top 5 Mental Edge Tips To Live By (Video)   Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Why I Changed My Mind On […]

sarah k
sarah k
3 years 30 days ago

Seems like a waste of oil..
I can’t see how this can make more sense ( from an economic point of view) to pan fry or grill in the oven with a little oil.

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[…] meal was inspired by this post on Marks Daily […]

Gurgle
Gurgle
2 years 11 months ago

This is fried fish, no matter how you look at it, and it’s being cooked at too low of a temperature to be sanitary and safe to eat. The flavor would be of oil! If I want that, and sometimes I do, I’d get a nice crusty bread loaf and some herbs and dip away.

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[…] Fish Poached in Olive Oil | Mark's Daily Apple Just when you think you've cooked fish in every possible way, along comes an intriguing recipe like this one. This cooking method for seafood isn't a new ide. […]

Samantha
Samantha
2 years 8 months ago

Just tried it w/ cod. Delish! I used a tiny Pyrex pot and put 3 small pieces of the fish in and it only took about 1/4 c or less of evoo. Now I can reuse the same pot of oil to do another batch. I did mine a bit hotter. The oil was bubbling a bit, but I’m really happy with the results. A light, quick meal.

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[…] For the poached fish, I’ll point you to Mark Sisson’s delicious fish poached in olive oil. […]

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