Poaching a rich fish like salmon in olive oil over low, slow heat gives it an incredibly tender, silky texture and a pure flavor that you won't believe until you try it. In this video, I'll show you every step for making olive-oil poached salmon with a bold Indian spice rub.
Begin by toasting 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Shake the pan often and cook just until the seeds are fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl. Toast 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds the same way. Grind both spices in an electric spice grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Put 1 large peeled garlic clove and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle, and mash to a paste.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, the ground cumin and coriander, 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a small bowl. Add 1 to 2 tsp. of extra-virgin olive oil--just enough to turn the spice mixture into a smooth paste.
Rub the spice paste onto 4 skinless salmon fillets, each about 6 to 7 oz. and roughly 1 inch thick. Rub the paste on all sides of the salmon and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 225°F. Measure the thickness of the fillets and fill a 10-inch straight-sided sauté pan with the same depth of extra-virgin olive oil. You'll need about 4 to 6 cups of oil.
Heat the oil over low heat until it reaches 120°F, 2 to 3 minutes.
Put the salmon fillets in the oil in a single layer and immediately transfer the pan to the oven. Poach until a few small whitish droplets rise to the surface of the fillet; this will take about 25 minutes.
Transfer the salmon to a wire rack to drain for a few minutes.
Serve warm with lemon or lime wedges.
Videography by Gary Junken and Michael Dobsevage; editing by Cari Delahanty
from Fine Cooking