Proper Poaching

22 03 2010

Grilled Key West Grouper and Blackened Florida Snapper Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Fennel topped with Fire Roasted Tomato and Garlic Sauce

All chefs, all cooks for that matter, must learn proper poaching technique. Now I am not referring to cooking at 165-180 degrees F in some liquid like we did for the shrimp. No, I am talking about stealing really good ideas and recipes. Every good chef does it and calls it “inspired by….”  With that in mind I came across a recipe for a fire roasted tomato sauce by my good friend, Cajun Chef Ryan. It was just so damn good I couldn’t be inspired by it, I just had to use it. So with all due proper credit here is his recipe which can be found at:

Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce

If you do not have a wood burning stove in your house then of course, fire roasting the Roma tomatoes on a pan in an outdoor charcoal grill over indirect heat will impart a smokier flavor, though the cooking time increases due to most grills having a lower temperature. Indirect heat on the charcoal grill means that you are setting up an outdoor oven, so to speak, where the coals are on one side of the grill, and the roasted product is on the other side. The indoor oven works just fine too.

In addition, if you are not fond of spiciness you can reduce or omit the white pepper and chili powder in the recipe also.


  • Cooking Spray
  • 12 Each Roma or plum tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tsp Garlic salt
  • 2 Tsp White pepper
  • 2 Tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tsp Crystal hot sauce
  • 2 Tsp Chili powder
  • 2 Tsp Smoky paprika
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, chopped


Procedure Steps        Note: Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
1. Place halved tomatoes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Season them with the garlic salt and white pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. If roasted in the pan on indirect heat on a charcoal grill double the cooking time.
2. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, add 8 of the tomatoes (16 halves) with the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Dice the remaining 4 (8 halves) tomatoes and fold into the sauce. Use the sauce for any preparation calling for Fire Roasted Tomato Sauce, reserve any leftover sauce for other uses.

As the saying goes “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun”, but since I can’t leave well enough alone I did putz with the recipe (I added about a bulb of garlic to roast as well) a bit after the first batch (which was awesome) because of what I was serving it with; grilled fresh Florida Key West Grouper and Blackened Local Snapper sandwiches with caramelized onions and fennel. Once you have the sauce done, I simply seasoned the fish and grilled. I caramelized 1 medium onion and ½ bulb of fennel. So simple and so good; sometimes too many chefs don’t spoil the broth-they make it delicious!



5 responses

22 03 2010
Cajun Chef Ryan

Hey Doc, this looks great my friend! So glad you were able to tweak it with a little fresh gahhhhhlic! Your caramelized onion and fennel sounds sublime!

22 03 2010

I am inspired by your fish recipes because you add enough heat to get my attention! (I am usually bored by fish); I am glad you poached that recipe, good for me!

23 03 2010

Thanks! Good for al of us.

26 03 2010

A man of many talents- does the off shore coast guard know you are ‘poaching’ and giving lessons? Hmmmm, yes I am de spy, head of blog patrol- well nah I will let the experts have that job…

Chef E

26 03 2010

I always have, as my military friend said, plausible deniability!

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