Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I like poached fish. You can add a lot of flavor through the poaching liquid, but you don't have to add a lot of fat, like when you fry. And let's not talk about fish on the outdoor grill. Yeah, I've done it. Sometimes successfully, and sometimes not.
Sometimes a pan-fried fish is great. No doubt there. But poaching offers a lot of benefits. Like, if you need a few extra minutes, you can turn the heat off and let the fish rest in the poaching liquid. It will stay warm without overcooking to the point of dry chewiness.
And did I mention that you can add a lot of flavor in the poaching liquid? I usually add a bit of white wine, at minimum, and then I go from there.
I found Swai fillets on sale, and since I'd never tried them (that I know of) I decided to see what they were all about. They're a white fish, fairly firm, with a nice texture. After poaching, they were moist and tender and flavorful. Maybe next time I'll throw caution to the wind and see how they behave when they're fried.
Meanwhile, these fillets got themselves nicely poached. Pretty much everything here is to taste, so use your judgment. Like I said, I often use wine, but this time I didn't have any on hand, and I didn't want to open a fresh bottle just for poaching. Instead, I added vegetable soup base for the richness, and some mirin for the extra acid. Lemon juice or a tiny bit of white wine vinegar would be fine, too, if you don't have mirin. Or, you know, use white wine.
Swai Fillets with Tomatoes and Capers
2 swai fillets
For the poaching liquid:
Hand full of cherry tomatoes, halved
A couple tablespoons of capers
A couple tablespoons mirin
1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon vegetable soup base
Combine the tomatoes, capers, mirin and soup base in a wide, shallow pan, along with enough water to just cover the fillets. Heat to boiling, then reduce to a bare simmer. Add the fish and cook until done - it should be opaque throughout. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fillets.
Serve with the tomatoes and capers as a garnish, along with some of the cooking liquid, if you like.