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Tuesday 18 October 2011

Sluttishly Easy: Fish Poached In White Wine

My poaching epiphany came when I realised I couldn't really describe the taste of white fish. My approach is always to wildly coat it in herby breadcrumbs, batter or a spicy coating. I could rhapsodise about what those taste like, but the fish itself? Sort of... fishy? It was time to try a more subtle approach, something that would let the fish shine and not get overwhelmed by the other flavours.

That's where poaching comes in. It's so simple to throw some herbs, vegetables and lemon slices in with some wine and gently cook your fish for a few minutes. You're left with a perfectly cooked piece of fish, beautifully flavoured and tasting fresh and light. The delicate treatment means the fish will slip down easily if you're feeling a bit wobbly *cough*hungover*cough* too.

You may need to adjust the amount of liquid depending on the size of your pan and fillets. It should just barely cover the fish.

Fish poached in white wine (serves 2)

You will need:
  • 2 fillets of white fish, like plaice, pollack, haddock or sea bass
  • 150ml white wine
  • 100ml water
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • Small bunch of rosemary
  • 2 slices of lemon
  • 3-4 circles of red onion
  • A few whole black peppercorns
Make it!
  1. Put everything except the fish into a saucepan and heat over a low-medium heat until just simmering.
  2. Gently lower in the fish. The liquid should be barely simmering now - anything more energetic will overcook or break up the fish.
  3. How long you need to cook it for depends on the thickness of your fish. The thin fillets I used took around 5 minutes; a larger, thicker piece would take 10-12 minutes. It should be opaque in the middle and flake easily when done.
  4. Pour a little of the poaching liquid over it and garnish with fresh rosemary and lemon wedges. Serve with steamed vegetables, new potatoes, and a glass of that white wine.


  1. I want to eat this tonight but it will have to wait until next week. Fish and potatoes and greens. Classic all year round.

  2. So true, I often over-power my fish with other flavours. I shall try this one at the weekend. Yum.

  3. I made this for dinner tonight - so easy and definitely one of the quickest meals I've ever made. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! I'm going to experiment with different veg and herbs in future.


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