The Simplest Poached Salmon with Pesto and Feta

This poached salmon is the simplest way to get tender, flaky fish every time! Top it with pesto and feta for a flavorful finish. 

The Simplest Poached Salmon Recipe with Pesto and Feta - this salmon recipe makes the most tender, flakiest fish! 303 calories

Whenever I see salmon on a restaurant menu, I almost always order it.

Chefs just have a way with salmon, don’t they? They can pan sear it to a fiery pink crust, or bake it juuuust enough…so that the center still flakes and tastes buttery and soft. Never over-done.


At home, when I’m making a salmon recipe myself, I realize just how hard it can feel to cook it just right.

But recently, I found a way to prepare salmon so that it gently steams, leaving the middle moist, while turning the faintest, rosiest shade of orange. It’s poaching, and it’s such a game changer with salmon. You slice some garlic, lay it over the fish, and then steam that fish on top of a simmering mix of chicken stock and wine. And once the fish is cooked, I smear basil pesto over it and sprinkle salty, tangy feta on top for some more flavor. The pesto and cheese melt a little into the cracks of the salmon, and it’s all just so lovely.

It’s the simplest, surest way to keep this deliciously oily fish as silky as it’s meant to be!

The Simplest Poached Salmon Recipe with Pesto and Feta - this salmon recipe makes the most tender, flakiest fish! 303 calories


The Simplest Poached Salmon with Pesto and Feta

Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 303kcal


  • 1 lb salmon filet
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thinly
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil pesto
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese


  • Bring the chicken stock and wine to a gentle boil in a large dutch oven (any two inch deep pan with a tight fitting lid).
  • Add the salmon filet and lay the garlic slices evenly over the top to coat the fish. Cover with the pan’s lid and let the fish simmer in the hot stock for 7 minutes. You’ll know it’s done when it flakes as you press the flesh with a fork.
  • Remove the fish from the pan immediately, discard garlic, and spread evenly with pesto while the fish is still hot. Sprinkle with feta. Serve.


Nutrition Information: Calories 303, Fat 20g, Carb 2g, Fiber 0g, Sugars 0g, Protein 22g


Calories: 303kcal | Fat: 20g



23 thoughts on “The Simplest Poached Salmon with Pesto and Feta

  1. Linda

    That recipe sounds great. I usually just put the salmon to the oven and let it be there. And I wouldn’t discard garlic. I love garlic so much. :) Garlic goes great with feta.
    And salmon is best when it’s left just a little bit red inside. Then it’s so moisture and tender.

    Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Katie

    I have the same problem when I try to make salmon at home. Your recipe looks just perfect, and I’ve got a bunch of basil pesto at home right now that I was hoping to use up. Thanks for this great idea!

  3. The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh

    Oh yeah babe! Nothing like a good, moist, flavorful salmon. I love to do mine similarly but in a foil pan on the grill with some hickory chips in the smoker box. As long as you don’t mind smelling like a campfire, it’s wonderful! :) Can’t wait to give your version a try!

  4. sara

    Yu-ummmmm!! I’m dancing around in my chair because I love salmon just that much. Thanks so much for the poaching how-to! I usually cook my salmon in a skillet or in the oven, and I’ve been disappointed too. I’m so trying this out asap!

  5. adrianne (all of the above)

    This looks tasty! I actually have salmon in my lunch today, fancy that :) The recent popular method of preparation in our house is to put salmon on a big sheet of tin foil, cover in herbs (usually dill and parsley), garlic, lemon, fold up the foil so the salmon is nice and cozy inside, and stick in the oven for 15 minutes. It goes fabulously, hot or cold, with a little tzatziki on the side! Yum. I’m going to have to try this one out though! Anything with pesto is cool in my book.

  6. Jeannette

    We LOVED this. My 12 year old even loved this. It was moist and succulent and the pesto and feta lent it a buttery taste. Delish! Had roasted broccoli and brussels sprouts alongside it. I will have to try to resist the daughter’s pleas to have it again within the week.

    I put together the basic nutrition info (from, so take however many grains of salt you need). For 1/3 of the recipe: 292 calories, 14g fat, 1.8g carbs, 32.8g protein.

  7. Adrienne

    I made this for dinner last night. The recipe was so simple I was wondering if it would be as delish as it looked. It was delightful. I feel like running to the store for more salmon now! Nom! Thanks!

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  9. Lynn

    So I thought we were having your pork chops tonight, but (ahem) that involved driving to the store for pork chops. Something dear son normally loves to do. However, he took one look at the rain and said, “meh”. So the broccoli is now roasting, but the pork chops will have to wait for another night. I have salmon that I just pulled out of the freezer, and I actually tried making pesto a couple of days ago, but I have no white wine for the poaching liquid. You probably won’t see this before I have to cook, but I’m wondering if I could substitute a red wine for poaching? It wouldn’t be so bad, color wise, with salmon… I think I would use less than I would a white, so as not to overpower – but it is salmon, after all… Not sure if I will try it or not, I’ll post back the results if I do. If you happen to see this soon and can respond with your opinion, that would be lovely, but if not, please don’t feel bad! I’m the one sans pork chops! :)

    PS I enjoyed Camille’s birthday post. You two really do a nice job of enjoying – and understanding – life. I’m glad you guys share your voices with the world!

  10. Pingback: Poached Salmon with Pesto and Feta | The College Cook

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