Simmering affections

Frank Camorra
Light and easy ... Salpicon  - a poached seafood salad - is perfect on a warm summer's evening.
Light and easy ... Salpicon - a poached seafood salad - is perfect on a warm summer's evening. Photo: Marina Oliphant

Poaching is a fantastic way to cook. It's healthier than frying, easier to clean up afterwards as you use only one pot, and the flavour of the poached food stays close to its natural flavour.

The poaching liquid can also be boosted with citrus, aromatic vegetables, herbs and wine. This cold salad of poached seafood and summer vegetables is perfect for a warm summer night. Enjoy it with a chilled Manzanilla sherry or cold pale ale beer.

Another easy poaching recipe I like involves sausages. I heat some full-bodied red wine in a saucepan, add two bay leaves and a crushed garlic clove, simmer five minutes, then poach pork sausages until cooked. I serve them with lentils.

When poaching eggs, always buy the freshest possible. When an egg ages, the white becomes watery and will not stick to the yolk while poaching.


3 ripe avocados, peeled

1/2 Spanish onion, finely diced

1 lime, juiced

8 basil leaves, finely sliced


Sea salt to taste

Tabasco sauce to taste

White vinegar

8 eggs

4 slices sourdough bread

8 slices jamon

Extra virgin olive oil


Crush avocados roughly, add onion, lime juice, basil, salt and Tabasco. Mix well.

Half fill a medium-size pot with water and add 50 millilitres vinegar per litre of water. Boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Crack egg into a small bowl, then pour egg into water gently near the edge, so egg turns with the water. Do two eggs at a time while toasting bread; when done (about 4 minutes for a 70-gram egg) place on toast with a spoonful of avocado.

Lay 2 jamon slices over eggs. Finish with a sprinkle of oil and salt on avocado.

Makes 4


1 bay leaf

150ml dry sherry

1 garlic clove, peeled

250g skinless blue eye trevalla, cut into 2.5cm chunks

200g cleaned squid hoods, cut into 2.5cm pieces

100g scallops, trimmed

250g raw prawns peeled and deveined, tails intact

500g mussels, scrubbed, beards removed

4 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped

1 green capsicum, seeded, cut into 5mm dice

1 large Lebanese cucumber, roughly peeled, halved lengthways, seeded and cut into 1cm chunks

1 small red onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped

100ml extra virgin olive oil

100ml chardonnay vinegar

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp sea salt flakes


Add 1 litre water, bay leaf, 100 millilitres sherry and garlic to a saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add fish, poach for 6 minutes, and remove. Add squid, poach for 2-3 minutes and remove, then poach the scallops and prawns separately for 1 1/2 minutes each.

Cool cooked seafood.

Place mussels and remaining sherry in a large frypan until sherry boils. Cover pan and cook, shaking for 3-4 minutes or until mussels open.

Pour mussels into a colander set over a bowl, reserving 100 millilitres of cooking liquid. When cool, remove mussels from shells.

Combine tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber, onion and parsley in a large bowl. Add mussel liquid, oil, vinegar, pepper and salt and mix well. Add seafood and gently toss again. Chill.

Serves 4