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A Feast of Fish

A Feast of Fish

By Ian McAndrew

Published 1989

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To poach means to cover or partially cover the fish in liquid, such as stock or court bouillon, which is then gently heated until the liquid just starts to tremble. The liquid should then be held at this point until the fish is cooked. I find it best to transfer the pan to the oven to complete the cooking process; this will prevent the liquid from boiling, which must be prevented if the fish is to poach correctly and retain its flavour and moisture. If the poaching stock is allowed to boil, the fish will toughen and shrink considerably. It is important when poaching that the pan or tray used is large enough to take the fish without touching or overlapping with each other. If you do not have a pan large enough, use two pans rather than using the same one twice. If the fish is to be served cold once poached, it is best to allow the fish to cool in its stock until ready for serving; this will greatly improve its flavour and is particularly good for shellfish. When cooking shellfish, they should always be plunged into boiling liquid and then the heat turned down and the liquid allowed to just simmer, not boil.