Poaching Temperatures

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

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The great advantage of poaching fish is the ease of controlling the heat to obtain a moist, succulent result. Moderate-sized fillets and steaks should be started in liquid just below the boil and so hot enough to kill surface microbes instantly. The pot should then be taken off the heat, cool liquid added to bring its temperature down more quickly to around 150–160°F/65–70°C, and the fish cooked through gently. Allowing the cooked fish to cool while immersed in its liquid will leave it moister, since a hot piece of fish exposed to the air evaporates its surface moisture away.