How to Cook Good Things Good: Salmon

Here's the truth about how I cook: I love recipes, but on weeknights I rarely follow them. Most of the time I just make something naturally tasty and healthy in a very simple way and leave it at that. Jo Robinson's new book, Eating on the Wild Side, is a great resource for foods to focus on. I also like Marion Nestle's What to Eat.

I've got a handful of staples in my wheelhouse, and once I find a way of cooking something that pleases me, I stick to it. A few sweet potatoes, divided into wedges and roasted. A bunch of kale. A beautiful piece of salmon, poached.

This approach makes cooking daily much more approachable-- no directions to follow, no extra ingredients to assemble. All I need to do is master the technique once, and I can use it indefinitely.

Poaching is a great fallback for salmon because it's forgiving, deliciously silky, and takes 10 minutes from the start to finish. You can roast salmon, you can pan sear it, you can make it into burgers. I've done all those things. But this is my fave; I never get tired of it.


1. Set a large, shallow pan on the stove, adding  2 C water,  1/2 C white wine and a teaspoon of salt. You don't need to add anything else, but this time I also threw in a twist of lemon rind a sprig of parsley. Peppercorns, cloves, caraway seeds, garlic, orange rind or other fresh herbs would also be great. Up to you.

2.  Bring the liquid to a simmer and place the salmon in the pan. You might have to cut it into two piece to make it fit. It's ok if it's not totally submerged. Cover the pan.

3. Let the salmon cook for five minutes. Remove to a platter (I usually use a pancake flipper).

That's it. Now you can eat. A dollop of yogurt or a drizzle of good olive oil is yummy, but if you've got good fish, it's gonna taste great.

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