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Poaching is a gentle method for cooking fish that requires little supervision. The fish can be served hot or warm, but it has the most flavor when chilled and served cold.

In a large, shallow saucepan, simmer water, wine or chicken broth (or a combination of these) with spices, herbs, and flavorings such as citrus slices for about 20 minutes. This infuses the liquid with flavor. Be sure there is enough liquid to completely cover the fish when it is added.

Gently add the fish to the simmering liquid. Turn off the heat and cover the pan. You can keep the pan on the burner or remove it from the stove. Fish that is ½ inch thick should be done in 8 minutes; fish that is 1 inch thick should be ready in 15 minutes. Carefully remove fish with spatulas.