Thai Poached Salmon with Basalmic-glazed Mushrooms

This isn’t a genuine Thai recipe – it’s one I dreamt up on a Saturday afternoon, and one of those, “what have I got in the fridge” moments, inspired and focussed by the imminent and ad hoc arrival of a dinner guest. But it worked, so here it is, listed for two people – adjust quantities to suit:

Total preparation time: 20 minutes;
Cooking time: Main course 20 minutes, rice 45 minutes, mushrooms 5 minutes;
Zen time: About two hours.


  • 2 salmon steaks or fillets;
  • 1 large tsp Thai Magic paste (Garlic, Coriander & white pepper);
  • 1 large tsp Thai Red Curry paste
  • 1 large tsp Horseradish sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Fresh Dill
  • Fresh Coriander
  • 1/2 Red Onion, finely chopped
  • lump fresh root ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 stick fresh Lemon Grass, sliced lengthwise and bruised
  • 1 tin Coconut milk


  • 250g Crimini Mushrooms (or similar small flavoursome mushrooms)
  • Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Dark Soy Sauce
  • Basalmic Vinegar

finely chop the ginger, garlic and onion, and sauté them gently in a wide pan in olive oil with a dash of sesame oil added. Stir in the magic paste, remove from the heat, shake the tin of coconut milk well and turn it into the pan. Return to the heat and stir in the Red Curry paste and the sliced and bruised Lemon Grass. Bring it to a gentle simmer, without letting it boil. Allow to simmer gently for five minutes, then turn the heat off and add the roughly chopped Dill and Coriander and some fresh ground black pepper and the horseradish. Cover the sauce and let it cool – leave it for a couple of hours if you can, tasting it occasionally as the spicy, tangy flavour develops.

At this point, you can also check out the wine you’ll be serving with it. A crisp, slightly fruity white works well with this – either something from Southern Germany or (and this went particularly well) a bottle of Dorking’s finest – Denbie’s Surrey Gold.

After ninety minutes or so: If you want to serve the fish on a bed of mixed Wild and Basmati rice, remember that most wild rice takes a good 45 minutes to cook – add the Basmati rice close to the end and, when ready, drain and add a knob of butter and some fresh-ground black pepper.

After two hours: If still sufficiently sober, carefully bring the sauce back to just below the boil, and lower the salmon into the pan (you did use a wide enough pan, didn’t you?). Cover the pan and simmer gently for five minutes, before turning off the heat altogether – the salmon will poach nicely in the heat from the sauce. Have another aperitif and prepare the mushrooms while you’re waiting. After fifteen minutes, poke the salmon doubtfully with a fork, and you should find that it’s cooked to a pink perfection. At this point, lift the salmon carefully from the pan, place on a plate in a warming oven (and well away from vulching felines), while you heat and stir the sauce to reduce it to the desired consistency – creamy but not too thick, stirring all the while.

The mushrooms: Choose the smallest mushrooms and clean them, then sauté them whole for a few minutes with some olive oil in a hot wok, adding soy sauce until browned, then throwing a final dash of basalmic vinegar into the pan to glaze them.

Finally, serve: layer the rice on the plate, place the salmon atop the rice, pour the reduced sauce over the rice and place the mushrooms around the edge. Accompany with a lightly dressed rocket & feta salad.

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