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Poached salmon with zucchini tzatziki is an easy but impressive dish

1 week ago 22

Poached salmon will always hold a spark of romance for me because it was the first dinner I ever made for my husband, roughly this time of year 30 years ago. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say we fell in love over that meal of buttery, flaky fish draped in a cool, creamy yogurt sauce.

Making poached salmon, like nurturing a good relationship, involves a measure of care and attention, but there is an overall ease to it. You start by getting the poaching liquid together in a pan wide enough to hold the fish in a single layer. You season it — in this case with lemon juice, sliced shallots and dill, but any combination of acid, aromatic and herb will work — and bringing it to a boil.

Then you add the salmon, reduce the heat, and cook the fish it until it flakes easily but is still tender inside. You don’t want the poaching liquid to boil — it’s best to attentively adjust the heat to keep it gently simmering, just like with a new relationship. Once the salmon is transferred to a plate and is cool enough to handle, the skin is easily removed and the tender, pink fish is ready to be eaten either warm at that moment, or chilled for later. In this recipe it is first seasoned with a lovely sprinkle of lemon zest, salt and pepper.

The creamy yogurt sauce for the fish in this recipe is similar to a Greek tzatziki, but is made with zucchini instead of the traditional cucumber, a twist, which gives it earthier flavor and more substantial texture. A key step is to remove as much liquid as possible from the grated vegetable by letting it drain for 15 minutes, then giving it a good squeeze.

The zucchini is then stirred with yogurt, garlic and olive oil, plus lemon, shallot and dill, which echo the flavors in the salmon poaching liquid. I like to add some fresh mint, too.

The creamy sauce is spread onto each plate, then topped with a fillet of the poached fish, and adorned with a drizzle of olive oil and feathery fronds of dill for a meal, which — just like true love — brings ample pleasure and nourishment.

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