The Simple Trick To Giving Poached Fish Way More Flavor

Poached fish is something that seems to feature on just about every "healthy" menu. Fish is high in healthy Omega-3 fat, and it features prominently in the Mediterranean diet that ranks at the very top of U.S. News & World Report's list of healthiest diets. The problem with poached fish is that it's not very exciting, is it? In fact, it can seem more like a punishment when everyone else around you is chowing down on thick, juicy steaks and heaping plates of marinara-topped pasta and you're facing a plate of...plain fish. With maybe a side of steamed broccoli. Whoopee.

Well, we can't help you with that broccoli (some would say it's beyond help, while others swear by the not-so-diet-friendly cheese sauce), but Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, the nutrition expert who authored The Best 3-Ingredient Cookbook, says she's got a few ideas for how to make your poached fish a bit more appetizing.

How to give your poached fish a bit more zip

Amador's top tip involves the poaching medium. Instead of water, which Amidor admits "doesn't add much flavor," she suggests using a liquid with a bit more taste to it. She swaps out water for vegetable broth, and "Voilà! You have easily added more flavor." You can also use wine, juice, or – if you want creamier sauce – coconut milk.

Even if you don't happen to have any of these liquids on hand, and you're not feeling experimental enough to try poaching fish in Diet Coke (who knows, it could be amazing!), Amidor says you can also add spices like peppercorns or fresh ginger or herbs such as bay leaves, chives, mint, parsley, or thyme to the poaching water. She advises that "a touch of citrus juice like lemon, lime or orange can also add a refreshing twist," as would condiments such as hot sauce, soy sauce, or vinegar. You can also add aromatic vegetables such as garlic or onions, both of which Amidor says provide "a pop of flavor."

One of her favorite fish recipes involves poaching halibut in vegetable broth with fresh thyme and black pepper, something that admittedly does sound a lot tastier than tired old plain-water tilapia. Sadly, no poached fish is ever going to rival filet mignon on the list of dishes to die for, but if you're trying to focus on healthier eating, you need to take your flavor where you can get it.