Maggie Beer

Salmon Poached in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

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This is a very special, even sensuous dish. It works best when the salmon fillets are the same size and weight (ideally from the middle of the fish). The cooked salmon is quite pink inside and warm rather than hot, so make sure your guests don't belong to the 'if it's not piping hot or cooked well-done, it's just not right' school of thought.


Step 1: Choose a heavy-based saucepan or deep frying pan large enough to accommodate the fish in one layer; the smaller the pan, the less Olive Oil you will need to use. Pour the Extra Virgin Olive Oil into the pan, then stand it over the lowest heat possible on your stove-top, bringing it to blood temperature only (briefly dip the blade of a knife in - it should feel warm to touch, not hot). Salt the fish and rub in the lemon rind.

Step 2: Slip the fillets into the oil - the fillets should lie just below the surface like submarines - and cook at this gentle temperature for 10 - 20 minutes (this will depend on how low you can keep the temperature on your stove - use a simmer mat if you have one). The fish should be more set than cooked. If white dots appear on the surface of the fish (these are beads of protein), the oil is too hot, so you'll need to reduce the temperature. Next time, you'll know to cook it less - I promise it's so delicious you'll want to.

Step 3: Carefully take the fish out of the warm oil and drain. Reserve the oil to use again when cooking fish. Dress the salmon with the lemon juice, fresh Extra Virgin Olive Oil and sprigs of chervil and serve.


  1. 250ml Approx 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  2. To taste salt flakes
  3. 480g 4 trimmed salmon fillets skin removed
  4. Handful fresh chervil to serve

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