Thursday, September 4, 2014

Octoberfest Poached Salmon

I have several variants of this recipe, but this one is great for the early fall. It has the hearty flavors from the beer, beans, and spices inspired by German beer and sausage, but is light and easy to cooking on a hot day.

This recipe is better done with a thin filet of salmon left with the skin on.


  • Handful of cumin seeds and fennel seeds
  • About a teaspoon of ancho chili powder and a pinch of chipotle pepper powder, but use what you have
  • Olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons
  • Half a large yellow onion sliced thin
  • Two garlic cloves, sliced
  • Thai chili pepper or substitute a serrano or jalapeno pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Half a bottle of Octoberfest beer
  • Salmon fillet, skin on, not longer than the width of your frying pan
  • Kosher salt and ground pepper to taste
  • Half can of kidney beans
  • Optional, butter 2 tablespoons of butter


Put a frying pan on a low-medium burner and toast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds and chili powder for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add olive oil and saute the onion, garlic and chili pepper for 5-6 minutes. Pour in enough beer to cover the bottom of the pan and 1/3 of the thickness of the fillet but not too much where the salmon skin will be submerged - about a half bottle. Bring to a simmer and lower the heat. Sprinkle the salmon skin with salt and pepper and add to the pan skin side up. Cover and simmer 5-6 minutes.

Remove the salmon from the pan. Add the beans and butter if you want that restaurant glaze. Cook and stir 1-2 more minutes. Place beans and some of the onions on top of the salmon and pour the sauce on the side.

For Technologists

I'm providing a recipe in September to prep you for October. It's a little like how I run a tight agile shop and have developed practices around agile planning. For example, I ask my teams to have at least two sprints of backlog fully defined (stories written and sized) along with a deeper backlog of estimated stories. It's one of the practices I recommend for improving agile team velocity.


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