Poached Fish Salad with Shallots and Herbs

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a Light Lunch, 6 as an Appetizer

Appears in

This recipe starts with fresh fish fillets, but you can instead use leftover fish, poached or baked or grilled, as people in Burma do. Use any fish you like, from trout or salmon to haddock, tilapia, or sea bass.

The salad makes an easy appetizer or a refreshing main course on a hot day. Serve with plain rice or good bread, along with a simple stir-fry such as Lima Beans with Galangal or Smoky Napa Stir-Fry.


  • About cups water
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • About 1 pound fish fillets, rinsed


  • ¾ cup thinly sliced shallots, soaked in cold water for 10 minutes and drained
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons Shallot Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Fried Shallots
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons minced green cayenne chile
  • ¼ cup chopped coriander, or mint, or Vietnamese coriander


Pour the water into a small pot with the lemongrass, bring to a boil, and add the salt. Add the fish and bring the water back to a boil, then cover, lower the heat, and poach at a strong simmer just until the flesh is opaque throughout, about 5 minutes. Remove the fish from the water and set aside on a plate to cool. Reserve the poaching water for another purpose or discard.

When the fish is cool enough to handle, shred loosely into bite-sized pieces and place in a shallow bowl. Add the shallots, lime juice, shallot oil, fried shallots, ½ teaspoon salt, and the green chile and mix together well. Taste and add a little more salt if you wish. Top with the chopped fresh herbs and toss again briefly. Serve at room temperature.