Poaching in Oil

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I've heard of chefs poaching fish in olive oil and I'm wondering if any of you have any experience with this.  How does one do it?  Does it make the dish very greasy?  What temperature should the oil be and for how long do you poach fish or other seafood?  How do you serve it?  Can you only use olive oil?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I've done it with lobster in butter. Keep the temps low, use a flavorful fat, cook til its done.
     
  3. french fries

    french fries

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    I've never done it, but I've heard fish poached in olive oil is delicious. I'd love to give it a go one day.
     
  4. allanmcpherson

    allanmcpherson

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    If you can get your hands on halibut cheeks you've got to try poaching them in oil.  Its also a great way to do sweet breads.  I've got a tonne of lovage right now and I find a couple of lovage sprigs and fennel seeds (maybe some lemon and orange peel) in the oil brings the whole thing up.

    The last couple of times I've oil poached I've cooked the fish "sous vide" (controlled temp water bath)  and the texture is "oh, man, oh man" level divine.

    --Al
     
  5. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Poaching lobster in butter and fish in a flavor infused olive oil sells well and it is good. The main trick like Phatch states is low temp

    DO NOT BOIL. Poaching is small bubbles accumulating on the side of the pan. Water is kept slightly below boiling point .Most places do not poach correctly. Walk into most kitchens and there is an aluminum 2 gallon saucepan with boiling water,salt and a shot of vinegar. This is a far cry from poaching but you can't break habit in some cases.
     
  6. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Huh?  There's water in the poaching liquid?

     
     
  7. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I think he means that many restaurants do not really poach things when poaching in water. They boil it.
     
  8. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Oh.  Then what is the proper technique of poaching in water?  Because I put both salt and a dash of vinegar in my small pot when poaching eggs.  No?
     
  9. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    That's OK, Koukouvagia. The key is that the water should be barely at a simmer; the point where small bubbles are forming on the sides and bottom. Above all, you do not want the water boiling---which is what Phil and Ed were talking about.

    For poached eggs, bring the water to poaching temperature, with salt and vinegar if you like. Then give a swirl with a spoon to create a whirlpool-like effect. Drop the egg into that vortex. Go on to the next egg, repeating the whirlpool each time.
     
  10. gypsy2727

    gypsy2727

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    I found my hotel pans to be great for poaching on top of my grill. As long as you have an evenly distributed heat source to your Grill. ( Hate those hot spots!) You can adjust the heat so evenly. No salt just white vinegar and water for my babies.

    I am not a big fan of poaching in oil ... I have tried Sushi Grade Tuna and that was all right. I did go back to my Flash Frying .Why mess with a good thing?
     
  11. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Poaching in oil is a perfectly good way to make a somewhat healthier confit. Just submerge meat in oil and poach gently a loooong time. But you'll also need a lot of salt if you're planning to keep the confit very long, and this means the oil can't be used for anything else. Bear in mind that as long as you're doing confit, it's worth trying confit of things other than duck -- for example, Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie gives a wonderful recipe for pork loin confit, which transforms a truly awful supermarket cut into something luscious and wonderful. And whatever you cook this way you can always turn into rillettes if you're not happy with the texture.

    I happen to like fish rillettes, though I know lots of people don't -- you just oil-poach boneless, skinless fish with lots of salt and a couple branches of thyme until it's basically falling apart; drain, cool, and put the fish in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment; process gently until the color changes -- it'll become quite pale as the fat emulsifies. Pack in a ramekin, pour some clean olive oil over the top, and keep in the fridge for up to several weeks. Try it spread on baguette.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    This is one of the few procedures where I use and recommend a  stainless steel pot or pan. I have found that using the same aluminum pot day after day with the vinegar and salt which a lot of places do, changes the inner walls of the pot and could effect the egg.taste and color.
     
  13. titomike

    titomike

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    Probably shouldn't use aluminium cookware at all...http://www.encognitive.com/node/2143

    No actual need to add vinegar to the water if using fresh eggs, it was originally done to help a stale egg stay together. I suspect we've now become accustomed to the taste.

    Incidentally, salt is said to do the opposite to the whites & it will raise the temp at which water boils and so skew the temp aimed for above...

    That said... a court bouillon calls for salt and acid, for its own flavour & as a catalyst for releasing others in a shorter time-frame.

    It seems as if the two distinct techniques have become one....
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Chef, After continued test science has determined salt will only raise the temp about 1 degree. And since one never really knows how old eggs are, a shot of vinegar or lemon is still good.
     
  15. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    A nonstick pot works wonderfully for poached eggs, by the way. In the old method, you were supposed to move the egg just a little bit for the first 10 seconds or so, with the back of a spoon, moving the white onto the yolk and also keeping the egg from sticking to the bottom. Once it moves, it won't stick again.

    As to salt, Ed's being generous: you've got to put in a good deal of salt to get as much as 1 degree of temperature rise. However, a chemist friend of mine suggested that cooking in lightly salted water does have another effect, which is to make the so-cooked food have a similar osmotic pressure to your sauce or whatever, and this in turn helps the flavors to combine. This, he thinks, is why pasta cooked in salt water is preferable: the sauce cannot penetrate the pasta unless the osmotic pressure differential is minimal.
     
  16. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Chris, why would a non-stick pan make any difference? I've never had a poached egg stick to anything.
     
  17. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Chris,

    Your chemist friend may know something about chemistry but knows precious-little to nothing about food.

    Osmosis?!  Which semi-permeable membrane(s) does he think sauce crosses?   Also, a saline imbalance would actually tend to "power" osmosis -- not to mention simpler diffusion -- far more than saline near-equilibrium.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2010
  18. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    I'm fairly certain I'm misrepresenting his ideas. Chemistry was something I more or less faked my way through 25 years ago.