Poached Salmon with Salsa Verde

Poached Salmon with Salsa Verde

I love poaching salmon because it keeps the fish both tender and moist. The problem is, that by submerging the salmon in water, you end up losing flavor in the poaching liquid. That’s why vacuum sealing the fillet in a bag and cooking it sous vide is such a great solution. You get melt-in-your-mouth salmon without watering down the flavor.

But cooking sous vide has its own set of drawbacks, the most obvious one being that many people don’t have a sous vide setup at home. Also, when you’re dealing with large pieces of fish (like a whole fillet of salmon), it’s tough to find a bag and chamber vacuum large enough to accommodate it.

That’s why I developed this method of poaching salmon in a regular oven set to a low temperature. By wrapping the fillet in foil, you’re not constrained to the size of vacuum bags. This allows the salmon to slowly poach in its own juices, making it incredibly tender and moist, without giving up any flavor.

Poached Salmon with Green Sauce

The sauce is a light citrusy salsa verde made with cilantro, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil. It’s a perfect accompaniment for summer, and if you love cilantro, you’ll want to drink this sauce. Even if you’re not a big fan of cilantro, this sauce may just change your mind. That’s because it’s mixed with flat-leaf parsley, which pulls back the floral flavors of cilantro that some people consider “soapy”.

Topped with some big cubes of avocado, this is a rich creamy dish that still keeps things light enough to be served on a hot summer day. Serve it hot, or chill the salmon for a delightful brunch entree that can be served with a salad. If you plan to make the sauce ahead of time, blend all the ingredients except the lemon juice together, as the acid will change the color of the sauce. Then, when you’re ready to serve it, just whisk the lemon juice in.

Equipment you'll need:

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    Poached Salmon with Salsa Verde
  • Salmon filet poached in a low temperature oven with a verdant cilantro and parsley sauce.
ServingsPrep TimeCook Time
4 10 minutes 25 minutes


  • 680 grams side of salmon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 30 grams cilantro
  • 20 grams flat leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 avocado pitted, peeled and cut into cubes


  1. Move the oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 250 degrees F (120 C).
  2. Cut a large piece of foil that's about four times the width of your salmon fillet, and a few inches longer. If your foil is not long enough, you may need to join a few sheet together by lining the edges up and folding them over a few times.
  3. Scale and debone your fillet and then use paper towels dry the surface of the fish.
  4. Rub 2 tablespoons of olive oil on both sides of the salmon and place the salmon skin-side down on the foil.
  5. Rub in the 4 cloves of grated garlic and sprinkle with the lemon zest, coriander powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.
  6. Fold the aluminum foil up and over the salmon and seal the top by folding down the top edge 3 or 4 times.
  7. Fold the left and right sides of the foil 3 or 4 times to make a package and place the package on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake the salmon for 25-30 min or until thermometer reads 135 F (57 C).
  9. To make the sauce, add the cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, 1/4 cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and white pepper to a small food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  10. Cut the avocado in half lengthwise, and then remove the pit, and peel. Cut the avocado into 1/2" cubes and then toss with a little lemon juice to keep it from oxidizing.
  11. To serve the salmon, you can unwrap it and cut it up into portions or transfer it whole onto a serving platter. Drizzle some sauce on and around the salmon and scatter the avocado on top.
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  • Ryoka

    This looks delicious! Would you recommend leaving the salmon at room temperature for a while before baking?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Ryoka, you can and it will speed up the cooking time, but it’s not necessary in this case.

  • Sam

    Quick how much is 30 grams of cilantro?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It’s impossible to quantify accurately through volume measures as leaves are fluffy. Digital kitchen scales can be bought for about $12, it’s a worthwhile investment. All that said, if you’re okay with amount being off, I have medium sized hands and it’s a loose handful.

  • Allan

    I dislike cilantro ,any suggestions for a different herb combination?Thanks.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Having not made with with other herb combinations and not knowing what herbs you do like, it’s hard to make a suggestion, but you could do it with all parsley for a more traditional salsa verde.

  • Rhonda

    I think I could drink the salsa verde! My next piece of salmon will be bathed in it!

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  • everyonly

    I’m curious if this is essentially the same as cooking salmon en papillote or if using foil instead of parchment paper changes the process significantly?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      It’s a similar process but there are a few differences. The first is that parchment paper won’t give you as tight a seal as aluminum foil, and the second is that foil is a better conductor of heat. That said I haven’t done an A/B test comparing both at the same time so i can’t say with any certainty that one is better than the other. —
      Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

  • chenyze

    since coriander and cilantro are the same, can I just substitute coriander powder for more fresh cilantro? not sure how much to amp things up by though.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Chenyze, coriander powder and coriander are not the same thing. Coriander powder is a spice made from the dried seeds of the coriander plant while coriander is an herb ( the leaves). The flavors are different. That said, recipes aren’t set in stone and I encourage you to experiment to find a combo that works for you. —
      Sent from Mailbox for iPhone

      • chenyze

        Hi Marc, thanks for the explanation – I might just grind my coriander seeds then! (=

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  • Jess

    … why is salmon filed under vegetarian?

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  • Jessica-SF

    made this dish with chicken breasts instead since I’m the only fish lover in the family. It was DELISH! Making some more salsa verde right now to drink it!

  • Austin

    It was delicious. Thank you! It was a bit too much of the sauce for us, and we overcooked the salmon a tad, but still very good.


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