Chef Anna Olson: A Chat & Some Summer Recipes

Try her Chilled Grilled Seafood Salad, Marinated Flank Steak and Poached Salmon with Basil Mousseline!

Poached Salmon with Basil Mousseline

Serves 8
Salmon is the best fish for poaching. It holds its shape and stays nice and moist, and its color sets beautifully once chilled. The mousseline sauce is mayonnaise-based with whipped cream folded in to make it fluffy. Rich, yes, but a little spoonful goes a long way.

Basil Mousseline
¹⁄³ cup mayonnaise
½ cup chopped fresh basil
¼ cup finely chopped green onion
²⁄³ cup whipping cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper

Poached Salmon
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups water
2 lemons, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 sprigs fresh oregano or dill
8 5-oz (150 g) salmon fillet portions, skin-on and pin bones removed
salt & pepper
½ cup finely diced red bell pepper, for garnish (optional)

For the basil mousseline, add the mayonnaise, basil, and green onion to a food processor, pulse until blended, and scrape into a bowl. In another bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks and stir in the lemon juice. Fold the cream gently into the mayonnaise and season to taste. Chill for up to 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 275°f (140°c). In a roasting pan or ovenproof sauteuse (sauté pan with tall sides), bring the wine, water, lemons, onion, and oregano or dill up to a simmer.

Turn off the heat and add the salmon portions. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, checking for doneness at 15 minutes. The salmon should have an internal temperature of 145°f (63°c) and the flesh should feel firm when gently pressed. Gently remove the salmon from the liquid using a slotted spoon, place it on a plate, and season lightly. Cool to room temperature then chill completely.

To serve, peel away the skin of the salmon and place the salmon on a plate or platter. Top with mousseline and sprinkle with red pepper, if desired. Serve cold.


  • Poaching is one of the leanest cooking methods you can use. I like to poach in the oven because it’s easiest to maintain an even temperature. When poaching on the stove, you have to watch carefully that the liquid doesn’t boil, as this would break apart the fish. By flavoring the poaching liquid in this recipe with lemon and herbs, you introduce complexity with subtlety.
  • Poaching and chilling fish is also convenient if you’re preparing ahead for a party, or if you want to cook early in the morning before the day gets too hot.
  • The basil mousseline has other tasty uses. It’s lovely spooned over chilled asparagus or green beans, or you can use it as an easy alternative to hollandaise on eggs Benedict.