Poached Salmon with Leeks: Webisode #8

My Day So Far: Unpack from trip to Martha's Vineyard, morning jaunt to Children's Museum, errands, errands, errands!
Naptime Goals: Prepare for cooking segment on live TV (so nervous!) on WSYR Syracuse on Friday.
Tonight's Meal: Poached Salmon with Leeks. I don't have time to naptime chef today, but can pull together this delicious light meal in a snap.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: The toys that make the most annoying noises are always the child's favorite!

Sometimes people ask me if I spend 2 hours cooking every single day. No! Of course not! Sure, my daughter typically naps for that amount of time, but, as I've said before, naptime is my free time when I strive to get a lot of stuff done, including enjoying some time in the kitchen. Most of the time it works out that I can make a great casserole that will last for a couple of nights, or a large amount of sauce for pasta, with leftovers to freeze for later. But other times I don't have time to cook at all during naptime. Instead, I have to make dinner a few minutes before it needs to be served, which is when I turn to very specific arsenal of recipes at my disposal.

This week is book-ended by two very important trips for me. We just returned from celebrating a belated Christmas with my in-law's, and Thursday I am driving upstate to prepare for a live (!) TV show on Friday morning. (Don't get me started on my nerves, I haven't been able to eat for 2 days already). Once Saturday morning comes I'll be free as a bird, but until then I am running around like a madcap mommy, rushing my daughter to her classes, prepping during naptime and squeezing in the laundry whenever possible.

This recipe for Poached Salmon with Leeks was given to me by my mother-in-law when my husband and I first started dating. She served it one evening during a visit and I was instantly smitten. I love the mildly sweet taste of the tender leeks and how they mix with the chicken broth to soften the flavor of the salmon. Best of all, this is a light, healthy dinner that can be pulled together in a matter of minutes. Don't get me wrong, it's not one of these formulaic solution dinners I hate, there is plenty of inspiration and thought here. This is just simply an wonderful meal made with quality ingredients. I promise, I will never preach to you any time frame in which you pull it together.

Just yesterday I made this in the early evening while my daughter was playing in the other room with our neighbor. As the ear-grating songs of mechanical singing bears screeched away on repeat, I dedicated a few minutes to the kitchen. I had just enough time to let the leeks soften and salmon poach, with a few moments between to check on the kid's handiwork in the other room. (On a side note, can anyone explain the appeal to me of annoying singing animals and why children love them so much?) Dinner was prepared in a short amount of time and everyone adored it. And, believe it or not, my husband managed to capture it all on video, so here you go! Enjoy!

Poached Salmon with Leeks: Webisode #8 from Kelsey Banfield on Vimeo.

Poached Salmon with Leeks
1 T. butter
4 c. chopped leeks, well rinsed (!)
1 c. chicken broth
12 oz. salmon, cut into two strips 
Serves 2 (recipe doubles or triples easily)

1. Trim the roots and leaves from the leeks, leaving the soft white stem. Chop the stem into sections and place in a colander over the sink, or in a bowl of water. Rinse the leeks very thoroughly, these are notoriously grainy vegetables and you don't want the dirt to end up in your food, and pat dry.
2. In a straight edge saute pan with a lid over medium heat add the butter and allow to melt. Then add the leeks and saute until tender. About 8 minutes.
3. Once the leeks are tender pour in the chicken broth until it just covers the leeks. If you need a little more broth then the 1 cup called for, add a little more bit by bit. Then, add the salmon steaks on top, making sure they are separated a little. If there is skin on the salmon, place the skin side up so that the fish is resting directly on the leeks.
4. Turn up the heat so that the broth is simmering. Place the lid on the pan and cook the salmon for 8 minutes. After that, check to make sure the steaks are cooked through. If not, continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes.
5. Divide the leeks between two plates. Serve one salmon steak on top of each bed of leeks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Naptime Notes:
Naptime Recipe Props: This definitely goes in the category of meals that can be made in a short amount of time and taste delicious. I've never tried it, but I bet this would work with other kinds of fish as well, if you don't like salmon.
Naptime Stopwatch: I made this in 20 minutes from start to finish.
Naptime Reviews: My husband grew up eating this and claims my version was better than he ever tasted at home. I hardly believe it since his mother is such a good cook - but I'll take the credit anyway! My daughter? This was not such a hit, we haven't had much luck with salmon yet.


  1. great! I just bought some leeks two days ago, not knowing what to do with them. No salmon, but I have some halibut, hopefully it'll turn out okay ;) great vid, fun musical interlude btw!

  2. Love the penguin flipper, I have the snowflake one. The video looks great! Good luck on Friday, you'll do a fantastic job. The double chocolate cookies were a huge hit!! I'm thinking of making your short ribs for Sunday dinner.

  3. this looks terrific - i will definitely try this recipe. you look great on camera!

  4. Elizabeth AKA LizthechefJanuary 12, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    You're a lifesaver. I have salmon sitting in the fridge for supper tonight and needed a new way to prepare it. Off to the market for leeks! Thanks and good luck Friday...

  5. Thanks! I made this for my husband and he loved it, especially the leeks. I made this while helping the kids with homework and feeding the puppy and it turned out very well

  6. Elizabeth AKA LizthechefJanuary 12, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Salmon was delish - I cooked some whole-wheat couscous, perfect to soak up the delicious broth. A new comfort supper and a great,go-to easy supper we all search for. Husband doing dishes - hello - 4 stars for K!

  7. @lizthechef and @anonymous: I am so glad you liked the recipe! The addition of whole-wheat couscous is an awesome idea, perfect for absorbing the broth. Cheers!

  8. Nice recipe! Gotta get that spatula. Where did you get it?

  9. Thanks! Santa brought her the spatula. I was told it came from Williams-Sonoman, they have seasonsal cooking utensils for the holidays. enjoy!