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Butter Poached Fish (Easy)

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    Amber Boucher

    Hey, my name’s Amber Boucher. This is my first post (topic started) here on the forums. Before I started stress-posting about my pee not being yellow enough or my lower-than-I’d-like resting temp, I thought I’d try to make a positive contribution first. :) I love to cook and am so pumped about how refeeding (especially eating carbs again), has lifted the lid on my stifled kitchen endeavors. I love a recipe where one doesn’t have to measure everything and I think that simple food is usually better. So here’s something I made for lunch that hits both of those points and, most importantly, I thought was delicious.

    Butter Poached Fish – Serves Two
    Fish, cut into bite-sized chunks (12oz – 1lb)
    Herb(s), chopped
    Mixed Salad Greens
    Olive Oil
    Lemon Juice
    Chives, chopped

    Place fish* chunks on a cutting board lined with paper towels and give them a light salting, to draw out moisture and add flavor. Let them rest for 20 – 30 minutes**. If you’re a germaphobe, let them rest in the fridge; otherwise, let them sit on the counter.

    Meanwhile, melt 4+ Tbsps. of butter over low heat (enough heat to melt the butter without browning the milk solids) in a medium-sized pan. Add whatever chopped herb(s) you fancy. I went for fresh rosemary. The herb(s) can sit like this infusing for as much time as you need, so do your other prep work next, e.g. chopping the salad greens and chives, working on accompanying food, etc. This also gives the fish its resting time.

    When the fish is done resting, press it with a paper towel to remove the drawn out moisture then gently transfer it into the herb-infused butter pan. The idea is to evenly space the fish and then disturb it as little as possible while cooking. Next, use a large spoon to scoop the butter and poor it over the fish. Bathe the fish like this every couple of minutes until it’s done. If you don’t have enough butter to get a spoonful, gently tip the pan such that it pools or just add more butter.

    Even over low heat, the fish doesn’t take too long to cook since it’s been cut into small bits. Covering it loosely with a lid in between bathings will make it cook faster. The fish is done when it turns from translucent to opaque and is firm.

    As the fish approaches done, spoon some of the butter/fish juice (mmm…fish juice) out of the pan and into a small mixing bowl, about 2 Tbsps. worth. To this add olive oil (2 Tbsps.), lemon juice (1/2 large lemon), sugar (1 tsp) and salt (1/2 tsp). All of this should be done to taste. I put approximations of what I used in parenthesis. In place of sugar, honey or maple syrup could be used; in place of salt, soy sauce…just whatever you like best. For instance, I wanted more acid, but not more lemon so I added a dash of white wine vinegar, also.

    In a large bowl, pour dressing over salad greens***, toss, and divide evenly onto two plates. Top with fish gently scooped from the pan, garnish with chives, and enjoy. I ate mine with fruit-topped crostini. (Will post recipe of that next, maybe?)

    *What kinda fish? Something white, cheap & sturdy…like your mom. No for real, the fish draws so much flavor from the herb-infused butter that you don’t need anything special. I used cod that was on sale at my local grocer. Halibut would be really good, just pricier.

    **If the fish rests salted for too long, the salt will eventually penetrate it, causing its cells to reabsorb the released fluid. Sound like a familiar topic? He he. Here’s a link that has some good meat salting (rawr) info.

    ***For salad greens, I used a spring mix of baby lettuces, fris?e, raddicchio and dill.


    I agree that poached fish is good and very easy. I just heat some butter with juice of a lemon and a splash of white wine, then add the fish. When the fish flakes (comes apart in pieces) then it is done, about 5 minutes.

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