Poached Salmon and Mussels in Saffron Broth


poached salmon mussels

I pretty much enjoy salmon cooked in every way; raw, grilled, smoked, baked. But when all is said and done, my favorite way to enjoy salmon is probably poaching. Salmon tastes fresh out of the water when it is moist and fall-apart tender. In this recipe, fresh salmon filets are poached in white wine and a saffron liquid, steamed along with mussels, giving the salmon and broth a complex layer of flavor. It is a healthy 10-minute recipe and perfect with toasted crusty bread on the side.

Poached Salmon and Mussels in Saffron Broth


  • 1/8 tsp. crushed saffron threads (about 12 threads)
  • 9 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup minced fennel bulb, fronds reserved
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 4 (6-oz.) skinless, boneless salmon filets
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 24 mussels
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 3 tbsp. dry white vermouth
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh tarragon leaves


  1. Heat oven to 225.
  2. Combine saffron and 1½ cups warm water in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Grease a large skillet with 1 tbsp of butter. Arrange fennel and shallots in bottom of skillet. Season salmon with salt and pepper; arrange in skillet. Scatter mussels around filets; pour the reserved saffron liquid and the wine around the salmon. Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until the mussels open, about 3 minutes. Do not open the cover during this process.
  4. Remove pan from heat; set aside, still covered, to let steam until salmon is cooked through, about 3 more minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer fish and mussels to a baking sheet, and transfer baking sheet to oven.
  5. Return skillet to high heat; add vermouth and bring to a boil. Whisk in remaining butter 1 tbsp. at a time. Remove pan from heat and stir in chives, parsley, and tarragon. Season broth with salt.
  6. Divide fish and mussels between 4 bowls and spoon broth over top. Garnish fish with reserved fennel fronds and serve with crusty bread.

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