Magazine article Sunset

A Chinese Way to Poach

Magazine article Sunset

A Chinese Way to Poach

Article excerpt

The most succulent shrimp I have ever tasted were steeped, Chinese-style.

You dump shrimp into boiling water, cover the pan, and immediately remove it from the heat. As the water temperature slowly drops, gentle heat penetrates the food, poaching it with less stress than boiling, which toughens shrimp. It's the volume of water that controls the rate of cooking. Steeping is ideal for other relatively small pieces of meat or fish that are easily overcooked and, as a result, become dry: lean pork tenderloins and chicken breasts, in particular.

How do you know when these foods are done? You take out a piece and check. If it's not cooked, return it to the water for more steeping. If you misjudge, you can take the food out, return the water to boiling, then put the food back in the water to cook some more. Steeped foods are good hot or cold.

Poached pork, like chicken or veal, is pale, so a bright sauce is a good partner. The inspiration for this one comes from the Italian classic vitello tonnato, cold poached veal with tuna sauce. I add a big handful of parsley to make the sauce green and fresher tasting, too.

Pork Tenderloins with Tuna Sauce

Steeping time: 25 to 30 minutes

Prep time: About 25 minutes

Notes: If making ahead, cover and chill up to I day.

Makes: 6 servings

1 onion( 1/2 lb.) sliced

1 lemon, sliced

2 pork tenderloins, each about 3/4 pound, fat trimmed

1 small can (3 oz.) drained waterpacked tuna

1/2 cup chopped green onions (including tops)

1/4 cup packed chopped parsley

2 drained canned anchovy fillets

1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon leaves

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons lemon juice

6 tablespoons unflavored nonfat yogurt or sour cream

2 teaspoons drained prepared capers

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