How To Successfully Poach Fish, According To Chef Michael White - Exclusive

There are plenty of ways to cook fish, but successful results require a bit of practice. Whether you're grilling, baking, or frying, it's all too easy to overcook your fillet or end up with the skin stuck to the pan. Not to mention, these methods often cause a fishy smell that quickly permeates the atmosphere. If you're looking for a better alternative, chef Michael White shares one of his go-to techniques for making fish in an exclusive interview with Tasting Table.

He would know — White recently opened his latest restaurant Paranza at Atlantis Paradise Island in the Bahamas, featuring Italian coastal cuisine. Naturally, there are various types of fish on the menu, each prepared distinctly to highlight their different qualities. While grilling is a familiar method to cook seafood, White also likes poaching fish to infuse it with flavor.

If you've spent years trying to avoid mistakes when making poached eggs, you'll appreciate the fact that fish has no yolks. Nevertheless, White emphasizes that poaching it at the right temperature with suitable ingredients to enhance the flavor is the key difference between a bland fillet and one bursting with flavor and a tender texture. "We bring it to a temperature of about 130 degrees Fahrenheit so it remains moist," he explains. White has plenty of easy tips to guarantee your results are delicious, so you can focus on enjoying every last bite.

What elements do you need to include when poaching fish?

Poaching involves cooking fish in a liquid, but temperature distinguishes it from boiling or simmering. Unlike the latter two, poaching calls for a low and slow cook that won't compromise the delicate structure or toughen the proteins, in the case of fish. While some poach fish up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it's best to err on the side of caution and stick to a lower temperature to avoid overcooking.

Water is the easiest poaching liquid to use, but it's also the plainest. Adding butter, oil, broth, wine, and alliums can improve the taste, which is ultimately imparted to the fish. White likes using "a mixture of broth and olive oil," for optimal flavor and includes lemon peels and fresh herbs to amplify the taste.

Currently, the menu at Paranza features an Italian take on poached seafood. "We're doing acqua pazza style which is a spicy tomato water right now with shrimp," White explains. Acqua pazza, meaning "crazy water," describes the fiery poaching liquid that typically includes chile flakes. Skip the complicated side sauces and make your meal in a pot, including all the flavor enhancers from the start. While you're at it, poach your vegetables alongside the fish for a nutritious meal that comes together with ease.

Chef Michael White will be hosting a master class and lunch at the Nassau Paradise Island Wine & Food Festival on March 14. His newest restaurant, Paranza, is now open at Atlantis Paradise Island, with a menu featuring innovative Italian regional cuisine in a fine dining setting.