Monday, February 29, 2016

Fish Poached in Buttermilk

Since I learned the benefits of poaching fish in milk, I've been researching other recipes which cook it in this fashion. I learned that a lot of them include a second step after cooking the fish in which the poaching liquid is reduced and used as a sauce. Given the magical properties of buttermilk to tenderize meat, I decided to try a recipe that poached the fish in buttermilk.

The recipe was not without it's issues as far as I was concerned. First of all, half of it was prepping vegetables to serve the fish with. I didn't really need guidance on side dishes so I skipped the first part and focused on the fish preparation. I also am not a big fan of dill so I used parsley instead. This is how my dish turned out looking:

It actually looks fine, despite being super pale overall. I used tilapia fish because that was what I had on hand. I'm very careful with the timing on cooking it because I know it can over-cook in a heartbeat. The texture of the fish was very tender and it flaked well.

The problem was with the sauce. I did reduce it a bit despite the recipe not asking me to do so. I wanted something a bit thicker than just plain milk, though I knew adding butter in would add some texture to it at a later stage. Despite my reducing the sauce a bit and adding in butter, it was still very thin. I added in lemon juice and gave it a taste. It seemed tangy and almost cheesy (maybe from the buttermilk) just out of the blender. I made the fish and sauce on the early side of the day because I had other things to do. I put both in the refrigerator for later consumption figuring that the flavors might come together more as time went by.

Unfortunately, what seemed flavorful at that point tasted like little more than mildly flavored slightly condensed milk several hours later. The sauce was just so bland and uninteresting that I threw the rest out. I was very disappointed. The other pieces of fish that I poached were not embellished with the milk sauce. Despite being poached in milk, they carried none of the flavor of it so I folded them into Asian rice dishes with soy sauce, ginger, garlic and chilis.

This recipe was not only a bust for me, but it put me off any sort of recipe that uses the poaching liquid as a sauce. This just did not do it for me and, while I will absolutely continue to poach fish in milk (or buttermilk), I think I'm done sampling this type of recipe. 

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