Olive oil poaching is a method of cooking that not only helps retain the natural fats of the fish but infuses it with a more flavorful oil, producing a silky textured fish that is unlike any other cooking method out there. You want to use extra virgin olive oil for poaching because of the lovely flavor it imparts, but don’t use your best stuff; you will need a lot of it, and it is unusable afterwards.
This recipe is Whole30, Paleo, and Keto friendly and Gluten Free.
1 lb. wild salmon, cut into 4 fillets, let sit at room temperature for 1 hour*
1/3 cup mint leaves, coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
1 clove garlic, chopped
4 to 6 cups extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
While your salmon is coming to room temperature, season it with salt and pepper. Place the mint leaves, orange zest, and garlic on a cutting board and chop together until fine and crumbly. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 225°F. Measure the height of your salmon fillets and pour enough oil to cover into an oven-proof, medium skillet. Attach an oil thermometer to the skillet and heat the oil over low heat until 120°F, about 4 minutes.
Slide the salmon into the oil, remove the thermometer, and transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook until small white bubbles** form around the salmon and the salmon turns pale, 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.
Remove the skillet from the oven, and carefully remove the salmon with a slotted spatula. Place on a paper towel to drain.
Transfer to a plate and top with the gremolata and sprinkle with more salt to taste.
*Bringing the fish to room temperature will help keep the oil stable when adding the fish. If it goes in too cold, it drops the temperature of the oil too quickly and throws off the cooking time.
**Those white bubbles are albumen, a protein that is usually in liquid form in raw fish. Once you heat the fish, it coagulates and forms into the small white bubbles so you on the surface. The albumen is totally safe to eat, but if you do not like the look of it you can gently scrape it away with a paper towel or a pastry brush.