It’s salmon season here in the bay area and I have to admit it’s my favorite time to shop for fish, as well as hear fishing stories from family and friends. Growing up on the ranch pretty much after we learned how to tie our shoes, our father handed us a fishing rod and taught us how to tie lures to the line. After we got older the rod was traded up for a fly-fishing rod, and catch-and-release was the name of the game. We had a large irrigation pond on the ranch which was well-stocked with wary large-mouth bass we would practice our casting on.
My dad’s biggest catch was on the side of Arnold Drive in Sonoma. We were heading to Saturday evening’s Mass and all of us were stuffed into the station wagon, mom was driving and dad yelled on the top of his lungs, “Gen stop!!!” He gets out of the car, runs to the side of the road and picks up this over ten-pound whole salmon that was still ice-cold. He ran back to the car laughing like a mad man talking about it being still ice-cold and he was going to grill it for dinner that night. He placed the newspaper-wrapped fish next to my 11-year-old sister who was not pleased. All through Mass he chuckled about the salmon, afterwards told the locals about it, and showed it to whomever wanted to see it. Needless to say all of us teenagers were mortified that our dad picked up a salmon on the side of the road, and showing it off to all of our friend’s parents. He still insists it was the biggest salmon he has ever caught.
Good news you don’t have to worry about my dad finding fish on the side of the road like I do … you can find salmon in your local market where it’s not seasoned with road grit.
Poaching fish is easy, that is if you are cooking. Poaching fish for fishing is bad, and the Department of Fish & Game will find you eventually. If you want to be super fancy like my mom you can buy your own poacher which is this oblong pot with a rack inside. They are nice, but I find that most salmon filets don’t fit in them. I also jerry-rigged a system to poach fish in college where I didn’t have to buy a pot. It’s worked for over 35 years. You just need a large roasting pan that comes with a rack, and aluminum foil.
Salmon is a wonderful fish to complement white wines, roses and lighter-syle reds like young pinot noirs. Our original chef at the winery, the very French Claude Jean, used to insist when he served salmon to slightly chill a pinot noir and that was the only wine to be served with the fish. If you asked for another wine he would sputter in French as he walked away from the table.
Super Easy Poached Salmon
- 3- to 4-pound fillet of salmon with skin on
- 3 lemons – sliced
- ½ cup of white wine
- ¼ cup of Italian parsley – coarsely chopped
- Step 1 Preheat stove to 350 degrees
- Step 2 In a large roasting pan pour white wine into it. Place roasting rack over wine.
- Step 3 Lay sliced lemons on rack.
- Step 4 Place salmon fillet skin side down on top of lemons.
- Step 5 Tent roasting pan with aluminum foil – make sure foil does not touch fish.
- Step 6 Place in stove and cook for about 15 minutes.
- Step 7 Remove salmon from rack, decorate top with ‘poached’ lemons and sprinkle with parsley.
- Step 8 Serve.