Salmon poached in oil with avocado salad & asparagus


I adore salmon and usually prefer it pan-fried with a crispy skin (yum!). However, I’m always up for a new culinary experience and rather liked the look of this recipe from Australian chef extraordinaire Maggie Beer, featured in Lifestyle The salmon is poached gently in luke-warm olive oil – the end result being a fillet that is unbelievably succulent; it pretty much melts in your mouth. I will definitely be making this again and encourage you to try it if you’ve never done so before. The salad is a lovely fresh, simple addition that is a nice foil for the oily salmon – if you’d like a salad dressing that’s a bit more dressy than plain oil and lemon juice, try Creamy Citrus Vinaigrette – it’s the perfect partner. I added the asparagus into the mix just to increase the vege content.


Serves 4


  • 4 similar sized fresh salmon fillets
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 4 small ripe tomatoes (I used about a dozen cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 very small red onion (I used chopped cucumber instead)
  • 1 avocado
  • Handful of basil leaves
  • 250ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional: 1 bunch of fresh asparagus


  1. The salad: Chop the tomatoes or, if you’re using cherry tomatoes, cut them in half. Dice the onion (or chop the cucumber if using), slice and chop the avocado and add to the tomatoes. Tear or chop the basil and add. Drizzle over the olive oil/lemon juice mixture, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. The fish: Maggie’s recipe calls to remove the skin from the salmon fillets – if I was serving this to guests, I’d certainly do that. However, because I was making this for a casual family dinner, I left the skin on. Alternatively, the skin is extremely easy to peel off once the fish is cooked. Take out any bones with tweezers.
  3. Get a heavy-based saucepan or fry-pan (make it as small as possible so that you don’t use up too much oil, but large enough to fit the length of your fish). Pour a generous amount of olive oil into the saucepan. Turn the stove onto the lowest possible heat and bring the oil to blood temperature (if you stick your finger into it, it shouldn’t feel hot; just luke-warm).
  4. Now lay the fish (top-side up) in the oil. It’s important that the fish are covered completely by the oil, but only by a few millimeters, so if you need to add any further oil, do so. Cook the fish for 18-22 minutes. If you notice any little white beads appearing on the fish, it means the temperature is too high.
  5. The asparagus: While the fish is cooking, wash the asparagus under the tap and snap off the woody ends. In the meantime, add a good amount of water (enough to cover the asparagus) to another saucepan and put on a high heat, bringing the water to the boil. Add some salt and then add the asparagus. Boil for 3-5 minutes (depending on how crunchy you like it) then drain in a colander.
  6. Get your serving plates ready. Lay some asparagus spears on each plate. Carefully remove the salmon from the pan with a fish slice and lay each one over the asparagus. Spoon the salad over top of each fillet and add cracked pepper and salt as required.

Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Canon 50mm 1.8 lens / Natural lighting


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