Need a new, foolproof way to prepare fish?

Gently poaching fish in a flavorful liquid just about guarantees a perfect outcome—juicy, tasty fillets.

Bonus: you also get vegetables and a delicious sauce, all in one pan.

All recipes in this post were developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at

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Poached Provençal White Fish

Serves 4. 

1 onion, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup dry vermouth (optional)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp. orange zest
¾ tsp. kosher salt
1½ lbs. tilapia or other firm white fish, skin removed and cut into chunks
A few fennel fronds
½ lemon, cut into wedges

  1.  In a large, deep pan over medium heat, sauté the onion, fennel, and garlic in the oil, stirring often, until they start to brown 3-5 minutes. 
  2. Add the vermouth (if using) and simmer until reduced by half, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, zest, salt, and 1 cup of water. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, 5-7 minutes. 
  4. Push the vegetables to one side. Add the fish to the open part of the pan. Spoon the vegetables over the fish. Gently shake the pan to distribute the fish evenly. Reduce the heat to low and very gently simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 5-10 minutes. 
  5. Garnish with the fennel fronds. Serve with lemon wedges. 

Per serving (6 oz. fish with sauce):

  • Calories: 330
  • Total fat: 16 g
  • Sat fat: 2.5 g
  • Carbs: 11 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Total sugar: 6 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 33 g
  • Sodium: 510 mg

Want more recipes?

To see more poaching combinations, try these recipes

  • Carrots, leeks, celery, & zucchini
  • Ginger, scallions, miso broth, & spinach
  • Bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, garlic, paprika, & lemon 

This recipe first appeared in the September 2019 issue of Nutrition Action Healthletter. 

Photo: Kate Sherwood/CSPI. 

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