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  • House Beautiful / Alex's Kitchen by Alex Hitz

Perfect Poached Salmon with Béarnaise Sauce

Impress your guests with this elegant dish – they’ll never guess it was such a cinch to make!

For the Poached Salmon

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


2 tablespoons minced shallots

2 pounds boneless, skinless salmon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

1½ cups white wine

2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into quarters


Preheat the oven to 375° F. Add 1 tablespoon of shallots to a 9" x 13" baking dish and spread them out evenly.

Season the salmon on each side with the salt and pepper, then place it in the baking dish. Spread the remaining shallots on top. Pour the white wine over the salmon and dot the fish with the butter. Lightly press a sheet of wax paper onto the top of the salmon.

Bake the salmon for 10 to 12 minutes, until cooked through but still rare. Remove it from the oven, pour off and discard the liquid, and let the salmon cool. When cooled, cover the fish with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 3 hours or up to 3 days. Serve with the béarnaise sauce.

For the Béarnaise Sauce

Yield: 1 cup


¼ cup white wine

¼ cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon minced shallots

1½ teaspoons dried tarragon

⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper

⅛ teaspoon plus ½ teaspoon salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter

4 egg yolks

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 pinch ground white pepper


1. In a large, heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the white wine, vinegar, shallots, tarragon, black pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon salt and boil until the mixture is thick and sticky, like syrup. Remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.

3. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the egg yolks, water, lemon juice, ½teaspoon salt, and white pepper. Process until thick, about 2 minutes.

4. When the butter has melted and is bubbling, pour it slowly into the food processor, with the processor running, until an emulsion forms.

5. Remove the sauce to a warm bowl, stir in the tarragon mixture, and serve immediately.

Photo by Victoria Pearson

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