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Fish and Shellfish, Mains

Poached Salmon and Potato Salad With Fresh Herb Sauce

Poached Salmon and Potato Salad With Fresh Herb Sauce
Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

Last August, I arrived in New York during a heat wave. After a long day of travel and traffic, I was hungry but too hot to have much of an appetite. I walked to a Japanese restaurant across the street ... Read more

Total time: 1 hour plus 1 hour chilling | Serves 4


  • 1 (12- to 16-ounce) salmon filet, skin on
  • Salt
  • 1 pound small boiling potatoes
  • 1 bunch watercress
  • Snipped chives, for garnish

Step 1Rinse salmon. Place in large skillet, cover with cold water and add a heaping tablespoon of salt. Bring water to boil then turn off heat and let stand 25 minutes. Remove skin from salmon and refrigerate, covered, at least 1 hour.

Step 2Close to serving, scrub potatoes, cut in half lengthwise and steam over boiling water until tender when pierced with a knife, 25 to 35 minutes.

Step 3To serve, flake salmon onto 4 plates, add potatoes and intersperse with clumps of watercress. Spoon a little sauce over salmon and potatoes and garnish with chives. Serve remaining sauce on side.


  • 6 ounces silken or soft tofu
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream or mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely snipped chives
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper
  • Chive blossoms, optional

Step 1Puree tofu in food processor or blender with yogurt, sour cream and oil until smooth. Scrape down sides; add lemon zest, juice, dill and garlic and process again until smooth and pale green.

Step 2Scrape into bowl and stir in all but a few chives. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Wipe bowl so that it looks neat, sprinkle remaining chives and chive blossoms, if using, over top. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Makes about 1 cup.

Note: The tofu disappears into the sauce, and even friends who approach tofu with firm suspicion never guess that it's here. This herb-laced sauce is not only perfect for chilled salmon and steamed summer potatoes, it's also friendly to a host of other dishes, such as warm flageolet beans, green beans, romaine salads and vegetable slaws. You can take it right through the seasons of your herb garden, replacing the dill with marjoram, lovage, chervil, tarragon and lemon thyme.


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