white plate topped with salmon fillet, topped with a lemon dill sauce and dill garnish; asparagus on plate; condiment dish with lemon dill sauce in background

Poached Salmon

Contributor: Jill Silverman Hough

Poached salmon—there’s a reason this preparation is such a classic. It’s easy, elegant, and really lets salmon shine.

  • Author: Jill Silverman Hough
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Fish
  • Method: Poach
  • Cuisine: American


  • 2 cups court boullion* or 1 cup vegetable broth and 1 cup water
  • 4 (5-6 oz.) salmon fillets, about ¾-inch thick, without skin
  • ¾ cup sour cream, crème fraiche, or Greek-style plain yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives, plus coarsely chopped chives for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
  • Zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp. pepper, ideally white pepper, plus more to taste
  • ½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste


  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, bring the court boullion to a gentle simmer. Add the salmon and adjust the heat to maintain barely a simmer. Cover and cook until the salmon is barely opaque throughout, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, chopped chives, dill, lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Add more lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and set aside.
  3. Use a slotted spatula to arrange the salmon on plates or a platter. Dollop the sauce on top and garnish with the coarsely chopped chives and dill sprigs. Serve any remaining sauce on the side.


*You can make court-bouillon in about 15 minutes—here’s a recipe from Epicurious and one from the Food Network. But in a pinch, I’ve been known to use a 50-50 mixture of store-bought vegetable stock and water.