White Wine Poached Fish + Roasted Cauliflower
I really made a white wine poached ~*tilapia*~, but I titled this “poached fish” because this recipe works for allll kinds of white fish. More importantly, this is great for all those frozen filets you have in your freezer that you forget to defrost until the last minute. That’s because there’s no defrosting! Let us rejoice!!!!!!
Now that we have rejoiced, I have some good news and I have some bad news. I’ll give you the bad news first. I hate to be a debbie downer, but poached fish is super ugly. It’s white, kind of gray, and just looks sad and deflated. But don’t worry because we are jazzing it up with some tomatoes, shallots and garlic, then topping with a beautiful white wine sauce and fresh herbs. Sounds too hard for you to do? I promise it’s not. We are basically sautéing some shallots, garlic and tomato for flavor. Then, we are adding white wine, lemon juice + water to create a delicious and flavorful poaching liquid, which ALSO will serve as the liquid for our white wine sauce! Yassss we stan hitting two birds with one stone. Is that how those gen-z use that term? Ok, back to the good news. Poaching fish allows it to absorb the flavor of the poaching liquid, and therefore makes the fish suuuuper tasty. This fish develops a bright, floral, buttery and elegant flavor profile. And all you have to do to achieve it is make the liquid (As described above) and let the fish take a nice bath in it while it simmers. For the whole tutorial, you can watch my video below! I always recommend watching the video with a recipe, as I’m a visual learner. However, the choice is yours.
White Wine Poached Fish with Roasted Cauliflower and Fresh Herbs
- 1 head of cauliflower cut into even sized pieces
- olive oil for seasoning, give or take 1 tbsp
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 2 frozen white fish fillets preferably tilapia or cod. Flounder works but will cook very quickly and flake if its extra thin!
- 1 tbsp butter unsalted
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 medium shallot minced or finely chopped
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup white wine of your choice obv pick a cheap one. I used $5 chardonnay
- 1 tsp kosher salt reserve some more if you need it
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 tsp chickpea flour can sub for gf all purpose, rice flour or regular all purpose flour
- Fresh dill for topping, optional
- Fresh parsley for topping, optional
- Fresh cracked pepper for topping, optional
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Heat a dutch oven (or medium large pot with a lid) on medium low heat. Combine 1 tbsp butter and 1 tbsp olive oil, until the butter is melted. Add the shallot and garlic, then spread them around until fully coated in the butter mixture. Adjust the heat to low, then put the lid on and let them sweat for 5 minutes.
- While the garlic and onion "sweat," prep the cauliflower. Place all of the pieces of cauliflower in a mixing bowl and toss in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss until the cauliflower is fully coated.
- Line the cauliflower up on a sheet pan (or 2 pans, don't over crowd your pan!) with the largest flat side of the cauliflower facing down. Roast the cauliflower for 20 minutes, until slightly tender inside and crispy on the outside.
- Return to the dutch oven and add the diced tomatoes to your garlic and onion mixture. Adjust the heat to medium low and let the mixture cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the white wine, water, lemon juice and salt. Taste the liquid to make sure it's salty enough for your liking (every salt is different, and it's important to have ample salt so your fish can absorb some flavor.) If it's just slightly salty, add another pinch. The salt will help enhance the flavors of the wine, butter, and lemon. Keep tasting and you'll know when it's right for you!!! Avoid adding too much. Little by little is best!
- Slightly lower the heat so that it's a slightly lower "medium low" than before, then add the frozen fish to the poaching liquid. Try to submerge it as much as you can. If the fish isn't even halfway covered, this means that your pot is too large. If you don't have any other pots, add more of the poaching liquids until the fish is almost fully covered. (I would start with half of the measurements provided, then work your way up if its necessary.) Put the lid on top and let the fish cook for 10 minutes. If the fish is stuck together from being frozen in a weird position, don't break the fish. Just let it cook for a few minutes until they begin to thaw and you can separate it.
- After 10 minutes, check on the fish and flip it over or adjust it as necessary. If your fish filets were small or thin, they may be done cooking! You'll know that they're done if they appear fully white and no longer translucent. If they're not done, put the lid back on and let them continue to cook for another 10 minutes. If they seem like they're *almost* done, then check back on them in 5 minutes. You can never be too careful!!
- Remove the cauliflower and put on a plate or in a flat bowl.
- With a spatula, remove the fish from the liquid and place it onto the cauliflower in separate bowls.
- Put a strainer over a sauce pan, then drain out the liquid from the shallot, tomato and garlic mixture. Set the mixture aside as we will use it for topping.
- Heat the liquid over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk very fast until the liquid begins to develop a thicker, saucy consistency. Lower the heat and continue to stir for 4-5 minutes. Taste to make sure the salt and acid levels are to your liking. If they aren't, add a little more lemon juice (for acid) or add a little more salt (for saltiness.) If your sauce seems too thin, add a little more flour (1/2 tsp at a time, then repeat the whisking.) If the sauce is too thick, add a little more liquid of your choice. Stock, wine, lemon juice or water all work here. If you use all-purpose flour, cook a little longer until the flour taste is fully cooked off. I use chickpea flour because I think it actually helps the flavor and its healthier (obv.)
- Pour the sauce onto the fish. Load up as much as you'd like.
- Top each fish with the shallot, garlic and tomato mixture. Then, top with fresh herbs and a little bit of freshly cracked pepper. Serve immediately!