Butter Poached Salmon. Learning to Listen.

by Jenn on April 15, 2013

in Diabetic Friendly,Gluten Free,Seafood

Butter Poached Salmon

Have you ever stopped to listen? Listen to the sounds of the world around you? Sitting outside I find myself appreciating the different songs of the birds, and taking comfort at night in the rhythmic inhale/exhale of my sleeping baby girl.  I hear the traffic outside amidst the gusty thrusts of the year’s first thunderstorm pelting rain against our apartment building, or down at the lake shore I take in the serenity of the water lapping against the docks swaying the boats to and fro, whilst a few seagulls (yes, this land-locked nation appears to have seagulls) call off in the distance.  If I think really hard, I can almost hear the sun trying to be noticed from behind the wall of fog that sits like a gatekeeper over the lake, keeping summer at bay just a little longer.

In my kitchen, I hear the sizzling of sliced garlic hitting the hot pan in a bit of butter, and then the shtshtshshh of salmon filets being added, its skin crackling at the thought of having to become bedfellows with a vegetable like garlic.  As my husband poaches the filets, spooning a little hot butter over top, the sizzling comes in waves, crashing against the shore each time that butter finds the pan once more.  The pot on the stove comes to a roaring boil signaling that it’s time to blanch the broccoli, and finally the salmon has quieted down letting its rich aroma permeate the room, the smells and sounds of preparation become a pair of sirens tempting us to give the meal a taste.

How often do we say, “dinner sounds good,” as a generic approval of what we will eat? Have you ever thought of what dinner actually sounds like?  While my vision hasn’t been too awesome lately as each blink of the eye comes with searing pain, when I can I’ve been taking the opportunity to close them slowly, and take in the world with my other senses.  I think we all know how to associate smell with food, but how often do you listen to your food? Maybe its song tells a story as much as its fashionable (or sometimes even garish) looks.

I think we often forget of the richness and vibrancy of the world of sound compared to that seen with our eyes, especially when it comes to food.  But food does sing.  It sings when it’s getting chopped, as it cooks, as it crunches between our teeth.  And if you listen carefully, you will notice that it carries a rhythm and possibly even a tune, that is always enriching our world and our perception of it.


Butter Poached Salmon

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes


  • 2 salmon filets (skin on), at least 1″ thick
  • sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp.gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar


  1. Heat a skillet on the stove (a large enough one to accommodate your filets) on high heat.  Meanwhile, season your filets with sea salt and cracked pepper.
  2. When the skillet it hot, melt in your butter and sauté the garlic until fragrant and aromatic.  Lay the salmon filets into the pan, skin side down (lay them away from you to avoid hot butter splatters).
  3. Let cook about 30 seconds, then tilt the pan so the butter collects at the bottom, and spoon it over the tops of the filets, letting it run back down into the pan.  Keep doing this until the top is cooked.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium, cover, and let cook about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, whisk together gluten free soy sauce, balsamic, and chives.  Remove the cover from the pan, and add a splash or so of the soy balsamic sauce on top of the filets.
  5. Flip the filets over and cover again, about 5 minutes more or until the centers have lost their original pink tones in favor of more pale color indicative of the cooked fish.
  6. Turn off the heat, remove filets from the pan, and serve skin side down.  Garnish with more soy/balsamic and chives if desired.  Enjoy!



Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts April 15, 2013 at 4:11 am

Jenn, I have been thinking about you and wondering how your eye has been recovering. I’m so sorry to hear that you are still having such pain. Part of the reason I was reminded of you and your eye situation is that I injured my cornea yesterday and have been in the ER yesterday and today and will be visiting a specialist tomorrow. Wishing healing for us both.

A lovely post as always from you … both the musings and the recipe. You know how I love salmon. 😉

Big continued healing hugs to you, Jenn,

Jenn April 15, 2013 at 5:08 am

Oh no so sorry to hear that Shirley!!! Wishing you a very very speedy recovery!

El April 15, 2013 at 4:52 am

Sorry to hear about your vision. I hope everything works out well for you. Beautiful salmon!

Jenn April 15, 2013 at 5:09 am

Thanks so much El!

Rosa April 15, 2013 at 8:08 am

A wonderfully poetic post! Sounds are very important. I’m ever so sorry to hear about your eye not having healed yet…

A scrumptious way of preparing salmon.



Jenn April 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

Thanks Rosa! We’ve been making salmon like this every weekend for the past month or so, we love it :)

Meeta April 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

Sometimes I forget to stop and listen. But then remind myself to slow down and kick back a pace. I love sitting out on my terrace on a warm summer evening and listen: birds, neighbors, grills, music, etc. We love our salmon and ever since Tom has been in Stockholm he beings home some of the most divine salmon ever.

Margaret@KitchenFrau April 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm

What a lovely post – you gave me something to think about. I do often forget to really listen. I wish you a full recovery from your eye injury.

Caroline {TheBarbeeHousewife} April 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

This is such an inspiring and beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. The salmon looks wonderful as well!

InTolerantChef April 16, 2013 at 11:05 am

It’s so important to listen in a commercial kitchen when you’re multi tasking- a hiss, splatter or sizzle can tell you so much without even turning to check. I’m sorry you’re forced to listen for other reasons, and sure hope you feel better soon. Lovely recipe still.

La Torontoise April 26, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Jennifer, I wish you a good recovery!
I’m a very loyal reader of your blog and love your pictures and posts; the recipes were received with a great enthusiasm from my family! And I love so much salmon! Thank you a lot!
All the best!
(I’m a Canadian living in North Europe, in a cold and rainy place, so I try to travel as often as possible to the South of France on food discovery trips.)

Nusrat Azim April 28, 2013 at 6:00 am

I’m a listener type …since birth :) Listening is a great virtue, skill, power so totally get your beautiful message in this beautiful post. Poached Salmon looks PERFECT , by the way :)

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