I went to buy what was advertised as "poached" salmon from my supermarket's prepared food counter and noticed that some of the edges were browned, so I was like, "Huh?". I interrogated the guy whose response was more or less unintelligible, but he did use the word "pan" which made me even more confused. How are they using a pan to "poach" salmon?

So, naturally, I escalated the situation to customer service who summoned the cooking manager. From her statements it quickly becomes evident that she did not know what "poaching" means. She reveals that the salmon is actually put on pans and then exposed to steam to cook it. Obviously there must be some additional heat source other than just the steam because browning is occurring.

So, I am wondering what is this machine that supermarkets have that is being used to make fake poached salmon. Is there such a thing as a steam oven or something like that? What is the technology here?

  • 7
    Maybe they genuinely caught the salmon illegally. Commented Jan 24, 2016 at 23:16
  • Oh my god that's funny, legitimately illegal poached salmon!!!! +1 for that
    – Escoce
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 1:03
  • They have some sort of "steam oven" in the cafeteria at work -- there's a great rush of steam when they open it up to get out some vegetables. I don't know what it's called or how common it is to steam-cook fish in it, so I can't really make this an answer.
    – Erica
    Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


After further inquiries and experimentation I have discovered when cooked salmon is left out for a long time it starts to turn dark orange at the edges, probably due to oxidation. So, possibly the browning is due to being left out a long time, not over cooking, however, it could be due to overcooking.

After I complained about steamed salmon being sold as "poached" salmon, the supermarket changed the label on it.

There are apparently steam ovens and also "combi ovens" that cook with both steam and heat. If they were using a combi oven in heat/steam mode, which a lot of places due because it cooks faster, then the salmon could be getting over cooked.

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